Platt Memorial Hall Opening & Rededication Ceremony
On 3rd September, the long-awaited opening of the new War Memorial Hall at Platt took place. We were very fortunate to have secured the presence of both our local MP Tom Tugendhat and the Bishop of Rochester to perform the ceremonies.
An area of seating was laid out externally with a good view of the memorial and at 11:00am the assembled throng was hushed by the Hall Chairman Sandy Mackay and a welcome extended to the dignitaries and guests. David Vallance then gave a brief review of the trials and tribulations of the past 16 years as he acted as project manager for the development.
Tom Tugendhat then spoke of the importance of the memorial as not only a celebration of past sacrifice, but of life, freedom and opportunity. He paid tribute to the efforts of the generation who created the original Platt memorial, and of those who followed – culminating in everyone present at the ceremony. His closing thoughts turned towards the local children who were in attendance, as they symbolised exactly what the young men whose names on the memorial fought for – namely the future. He then pulled down the Union Jack, which had covered the memorial, and cut a ribbon to officially open the Hall.
Barry Baker then talked of how the wish to know more about the lives and families of those whose names are on the memorial drove the way his research project developed over the years, before explaining how his investigations led to insights into the impact the wars had on the village. He then invited the Right Reverend James Langstaff to rededicate the memorial.
The Bishop explained that it was important that the memorial was an integral part of the new building as it formed part of the continuing story of the community. He then called on those present to pray or have some moments of quiet reflection on those who died as part of the rededication. Members of the 1st St. Mary’s Platt Scout Troop read out the names on the memorial which was followed by a ceremony of remembrance, with the last post played, two-minutes silence and then the reveille. Children from the Platt Primary School choir concluded the proceedings with a beautiful rendition of Ivor Novello’s “Keep the home fires burning.”
At the end of the ceremony, Sandy Mackay thanked all those who had taken part and invited the dignitaries and guests to enter the hall where there was an exhibition and the first showing of a documentary film that examined life in the parish during the two world wars. and featured the people of Platt, both past and present. The film and exhibition were funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, who also gave a grant to relocate the war memorial to the new site.
Sandy Mackay, Chairman of Trustees