A MOVING remembrance service and tree dedication ceremony were held in Maidenbrook Country Park's Somerset Wood on Sunday (May 8) to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War.

Presided over by the Rev Adrian Prior-Sankey, the programme featured first-hand testimony, prayers and other acts of remembrance.

Of particular note was the poignant contribution of senior Falklands veteran Col Gerry Wells-Cole.

He was personnel and logistics staff officer for HQ 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines during the campaign and his harrowing account put Sunday’s event into context.

Commodore David Lewis, who served as a lieutenant commander on HMS Argonaut during the campaign, read out the Falklands Hymn.

The impressive and respectful crowd in attendance consisted of military personnel from all ranks, including members of the South Atlantic Association and Association of WRENS, and other military veterans; seven standard bearers; representatives of the Royal British Legion and the Poppy of Honour charity; parish, district and county councillors; one of the country’s pre-eminent trumpeters; countrypark and Somerset Wood volunteers; and local residents, some of whom took part in the 1982 conflict.

Dedication of a memorial hawthorn tree and unveiling of a commemorative sign were carried out by Brig David Godsal, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset. The tree was carefully chosen for symbolic reasons having thorns for defence, red berries for blood, and white blossom for peace.

In line with tradition, proceedings were brought to a close with live renditions of The Last Post and Reveille separated by two minutes’ silence followed by the Rev Prior-Sankey’s final blessing and a rousing rendition by all of the National Anthem.