PEOPLE from all walks of life, young and old, took part in a 24-hour vigil to mark the 100th anniversary of the unveiling of the Cinderford war memorial.

The memorial in The Triangle, which includes the figure of a First World War ‘Tommy’, was officially unveiled on Saturday, November 17 1923.

The commemoration, which was organised by Cinderford Town Council began exactly 100 years later, at 11am on Friday.

Volunteers who included school children, members of the emergency services, army cadets, the British Legion, councillors and council staff and members of the public, each stood before the memorial for 20 minutes in quiet contemplation.

At 11am on Saturday, there was a short service led by the Vicar of Cinderford Rev Mike Barnsley.

It started with Mr Geoff Jones, the vice-chairman of the Cinderford branch of the Royal British Legion, reciting The Exhortation which begins: “They shall not grow old...”

The names of the men from Cinderford and district who gave their lives in the First World War were read out by Cinderford town crier Jer Holland.

The Mayor of Cinderford, Cllr Roger Sterry, and fellow town councillor Graham Morgan read the names of those who died in the Second World War.

Rev Barnsley also read the poem The Statue Speaks by nationally renowned poet Leonard Clark of Cinderford.

He composed the verses about the Cinderford monument in 1923.

Rev Barnsley said: “Thank you to all those who stood vigil over the last 24 hours,particularly in the hours of darkness.

“It’s been a very powerful occasion and very memorable for everyone who has taken part and for those who have gone by through the town at that time.

“What strikes me is the number of names on the memorial from a time when this community was much smaller.

Cllr Sterry said the respectful and dignified response to the vigil had made him proud to be Mayor of Cinderford.

He said: “This has been a credit to the people of Cinderford – it has been done so respectfully.

“I am so proud to be Mayor of Cinderford at this moment.”

The monument was designed by William Leah of Gloucester, with a sculpted figure by J Swift of Doncaster.

The cost of £800 – around £33,000 in today’s values – and was unveiled by Sir John French who commanded the British Army on the Western Front in the first 16 months of the First World War.