Stonefall candles
Everyone is  invited to the Vigil and to place a candle on the war graves to remember the sacrifice these heroes made.

Candlelit Christmas Remembrance event at the Commonwealth War Graves in Harrogate

7 December 2022

A Candlelit Christmas Remembrance event is to be held at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate.

Members of the public are warmly invited to the special occasion on Sunday 18th December at 3.30pm. Visitors will be provided with battery-operated tealights to place on the graves of the fallen, which will be followed by a short service of Remembrance.

Local resident Benji Walker inspired the now-annual event at the CWGC site, where more than 1,000 Commonwealth casualties are buried.

Benji said:

I feel it’s as important today as it was at the time to recognise the sacrifice of those who gave everything to serve this country. The Candlelit Christmas Remembrance is a chance for the local community to gather to remember the sacrifice of the hundreds of CWGC casualties buried at Stonefall, many of them thousands of miles from home.

Benji Walker, who has a son serving in the Yorkshire Regiment, will be using the event to raise money for the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation and Help for Heroes. Members of the public can sponsor a candle with the profits being split between the charities: Crowdfunding to Candles for Heroes is organising a Christmas Remembrance Candlelight Vigil at Stonefall Cemetery, Harrogate on 18th December 3.30pm. on JustGiving.

With more than 1,000 Commonwealth war graves, Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery is one of the largest CWGC sites in the North of England. Most burials are airmen who died during the Second World War when bomber command bases were established across Yorkshire. More than 600 of the casualties served with the Royal Canadian Air Force and they include two 17-year-olds.

CWGC Public Engagement Coordinator, Elizabeth Smith, said:

We’re grateful to what Benji has inspired here, a chance for people from all over the world to pay their respects to the fallen at a unique site, and at a special time of year. This has now become an annual event and long may it continue.

The Air Force plot at Stonefall Cemetery is incredible and resembles the sites we care for overseas. At the end of the Second World War local people were encouraged to adopt the war graves of the Canadian servicemen and lay wreaths on behalf of their families at Christmas.

Those wishing to attend the service are advised to dress warmly, wear a solid shoe and bring torches. The meeting point is the war graves plot adjacent to Forest Lane. Parking is available in the cemetery car park off Forest Lane.

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