Chancellor George Osborne led the tributes to the fallen at a Cheshire East service of remembrance to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.
He lit a specially-commissioned Flame of Remembrance in the grounds of Tatton Park before a bugler poignantly played the Last Post.
The ceremony took place before a gathering of civic dignitaries from across the Borough including the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, the Mayor and Leader of Cheshire East Council, serving members of the Mercian (Cheshire) Regiment and the choir of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The Chancellor gave a speech at the ceremony last night (August 4) which mentioned his own family’s experience of fighting in ‘The Great War’ and of his deep respect for the bravery and sacrifice of the servicemen who fought for their country and for our freedom.
Mr Osborne planted beside the Flame of Remembrance a symbolic poppy he had brought from a service of remembrance he had attended earlier in Glasgow.
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council said: “This was a very moving occasion, carried out with appropriate dignity and solemnity.
“This Flame of Remembrance is symbolic of the importance of remembering this cataclysmic conflict and the great sacrifice made by so many people in defence of their country, communities and freedom.”
Councillor Wesley Fitzgerald, Mayor of Cheshire East, said in his speech: “There can be nobody here whose family was not affected in one way or another by the events of the First World War.
“It is an overused phrase but those events really did change the world and their impact is still felt today.
“It is right that we as a community remember and pay tribute to those that did not come back from the war, or whose lives were affected by the physical or mental scaring brought about by that conflict.
“It is particularly pleasing that we have representatives of the Mercian Regiment here today – they represent, in a very tangible way, those troops that marched off to war 100 years ago.
“I am delighted that Cheshire East Council has developed the Cheshire East Reflects programme – of which today is a part. This is a four-year programme of activities and events to commemorate the First World War. It will bring together many aspects of the local authority with local community groups, organisations and partners.”
As well as the Flame of Remembrance a specially-commissioned countdown clock was unveiled, which will run until November 11, 2018, which marks the centenary of the Armistice that officially ended the First World War.
The Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service choir sang at the ceremony following a prayer by the Mayor’s chaplain, the Rev Magdalen Smith. The Flame of Remembrance was then lit by the Chancellor.
If you would like to promote you community’s commemorative events, or get involved, or have stories to share from this period, please visit the Cheshire East Reflects website at: www.cheshireeastreflects.com