18th October 2021

Remembrance bench dedicated in Vivary Park

Photo shows: (back left to right) Andrew O’Brien, HMS Fisgard Standard Bearer; Rev Adrian Prior Sankey MBE, Chaplain to the Taunton Branch of the Royal British Legion; Gordon Pursley, RASC / RCT Standard Bearer; Roger Prince, Royal British Legion Standard Bearer; (front left to right): Councillor Sue Lees, Mayor of Taunton; Councillor Richard Lees, Consort to the Mayor of Taunton; Councillor Hazel Prior-Sankey, Chair of SWT; Mrs Gloria Craig CB, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Somerset; Councillor Francesca Smith, Past Mayor of Taunton.

A new remembrance bench has been installed in Vivary Park, Taunton.

The bench was purchased by the Charter Trustees at the request of Cllr Francesca Smith during her year as Mayor of Taunton in 2020/21 when several commemorative events were restricted by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

It was dedicated following a small ceremony at the weekend to mark the anniversary of D-Day on 6 June. 

A brass plaque will be added to the bench with the wording “Dedicated by the Mayor of Taunton in commemoration of the centenary of the Royal British Legion 1921 – 2021 and all those affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic”.

Cllr Smith said: “It has been such a difficult year particularly for the veterans who would normally take part in ceremonies to honour their friends and comrades, and all those who come together to mark significant dates in our civic calendar.

“Whilst we were able to commemorate these important occasions online and share them widely, I am aware that it was a very difficult time for those who value the collective experience of coming together in remembrance.

“I wanted to do something to show our lasting respect for all our serving armed forces and veterans, to show our gratitude for the support they get from the Royal British Legion, and to recognise the many others locally who have been affected in different ways by Coronavirus in the past 14 months. I have been really inspired by the sense of community that has developed and hope this bench in our historic park will be used for rest and reflection for many years to come.”