Remembering Buxton's brave

Dignitaries from both sides of the English Channel stood side by side in Buxton on Saturday during a moving memorial service to remember fallen heroes.

A party of 37 people from twin town Oignies joined local civic leaders for the annual ceremony, which this year was held at the cenotaph on The Slopes.

Members of the Sherwood Foresters regiment were killed trying to guard the entrance to the French town from German invasion in May 1940, and a number of Buxton soldiers are buried there.

"It is always a very sombre occasion," said Buxton councillor Jane McGrother, who is a member of the Friends of Oignies twinning committee.

"We go across to Oignies for the service every other year and it is always extremely moving when you are standing there at the graves of these soldiers.

"I think that although the graves are not here when they come to Buxton, there is still a great feeling of comradeship and the mood is yet again to remember these who died during the war."

The service, which was conducted by the Rev John Hudghton, was also attended by Oignies' deputy mayor Alain Cieslak, High Peak Mayor Ann Mone, President of Friends of Oignies Derek Thomas and members of the Buxton branch of the Royal British Legion.

It was followed by a march up Terrace Road, along with music from Fairfield Band, to the Royal British Legion for afternoon tea, a buffet and games.

During their stay, the party from Oignies, who have been accommodated by local families, enjoyed a dinner at the Pavilion Gardens and a trip to Salford Quays.

As a mark of respect, the French flag was flown from the top of Buxton Town Hall.

• Anyone who would like to get involved with Friends of Oignies can contact Derek Thomas on 01298 22026.

By Jonathan Dodds