10 DEC 2014

Local MP and Minister for the First World War Centenary, Helen Grant, attends Carol Service for Christmas Truce

All Saints Church, Maidstone 07-12-14: Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, Minister for Sport and the Minister responsible for the Government's First World War Centenary Commemorations, attended a special carol service at All Saints Church, Mill Street, on Sunday in memory of the Christmas Truce of 1914. The service was held as the UK continues to mark the First World War Centenary.

Maidstone United, in partnership with St Augustine Academy and St Michael's Primary School, put the service together with All Saints Church, including festive favourites performed by St Michael's Junior Choir, and signing by St Augustine students who are learning sign language as part an enrichment programme at the Academy.

The MP for Maidstone and the Weald also attended a Football and Peace day with local schools at Maidstone United's Gallagher Stadium in April (pictured above), and at Sunday's service was asked to deliver the introductory address.

Commenting on the service, Helen said:

"One hundred years ago, young men faced each other in trenches dug in muddied fields across France and Belgium. They joined up in the belief that it would be 'all over by Christmas'

"As Christmas approached the War had already become like most people's worst nightmare

"What happened next was totally unexpected: a spontaneous truce as soldiers from both sides exchanged seasonal greetings, songs and gifts, while some participated in games of football on "no man's land".

"As MP for Maidstone and the Weald, Minister for Sport and the First World War Centenary Commemorations, I was honoured to deliver the opening words of Sunday's carol service remembering this heart-wrenching Christmas truce of 1914.

"The service was a fitting way to reflect on lessons learnt from the horror of that war, 100 years on, and hear afresh about the gift of peace that the true celebration of Christmas is all about"

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