The UK Representative of the Government of Montserrat, Janice Panton MBE joined the Speaker of the UK House of Commons in planting of the first ever ‘Constituency Garden of Remembrance’ in London.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he hoped the temporary garden – devised to mark 100 years of Remembrance as we know it – ‘would be a fitting reminder of the sacrifices made by constituents up and down the country’.
At an inaugural ceremony in New Palace Yard, the Speaker led the planting of Remembrance stakes with a message of gratitude to service personnel from his Chorley constituency.
Janice Panton followed, planting her tribute from Montserrat along with British MPs, Ministers and representatives from the Commonwealth and British Overseas Territories who attended the service.
Sir Lindsay said he hoped by Remembrance Day on 11 November, the garden would boast more than 700 tributes, each bearing a handwritten message of thanks.
‘I am so proud that we have created a garden to mark 100 years of Remembrance as we know it together with the Royal British Legion – who do so much to provide lifelong support to serving and ex-serving personnel and their families,’ he said.
‘I hope this event will show our admiration for the Armed Forces across the Commonwealth and overseas territories and form part of our annual Remembrance activities here in Parliament.’
Philippa Rawlinson, Remembrance Lead for the Royal British Legion, said: ‘Throughout history, the British Armed Forces have defended freedom and democracy and the RBL welcomes the creation of the new Constituency Garden of Remembrance so MPs can remember their service and sacrifice.
‘For 100 years the Royal British Legion has supported those who have served with the Armed Forces community and led the nation in Remembrance.
‘Today, we continue to unite people of different faiths, cultures, and backgrounds, to remember those who have served with the Armed Forces community from Britain and the Commonwealth, both past and present.’
When complete, the garden will contain a Remembrance stake representing each of the 650 constituencies in the UK, the 54 member countries of the Commonwealth, and 14 British Overseas Territories.
The first Remembrance Day was held on 11 November 1921, following a campaign led by Earl Haig, Commander-in-Chief of the Army during the First World War, and founder of the British Legion.
This followed the unveiling of the Cenotaph in Whitehall by King George V on 11 November 1920 and the decision to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.