Remembrance field opens to the public with more than 15,000 tributes laid

  • Watch ITV News Central Reporter Lewis Warner's report from the opening ceremony

A Field of Remembrance has been officially opened to the public after a memorial service today.

The Royal British Legion's remembrance field at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire pays tribute to those who have died in conflict, from the First World War up to the present day.

The field is one of six planted across the country to mark Remembrance Day.

More than 15,000 tributes have been planted, such as a Remembrance Cross, a Muslim Crescent, a Star of David, a Sikh Khanda, a Hindu Om, or a secular tribute.

Vicky Hitchen's father was held as a Japanese prisoner of war for four years.She said: "It's just something that everyone can see, and I feel that it shows that I still remember. My mum can't be here today because she's 97 as well.

"It's important for her, as well, that I come here today to recognise him and his colleagues as well that weren't so lucky."

Philippa Rawlinson from the Royal British Legion says "remembering and remembrance is deeply personal."

She continued: "But people still - as much as it's personal - they find comfort in coming together to remember with others and that's what's happened here.

"And of course, every single person that's put a tribute here, just like everyone that buys a poppy, is showing our armed forces that they care."

Thousands of tributes have been planted at the National Memorial Arboretum. Credit: ITV News Central

John Parkes, from Rugeley in Staffordshire, served in the armed forced for 15 years.An illness meant he lost his leg - and couldn't work. He says the Royal British Legion "saved [his] life.""I was living on £97 a week, statutory sick pay. I've got a partner, and a ten-year-old stepdaughter, a house, bills and everything else," John says.

"I was a stubborn ex-solider, didn't want to ask for help, and we were on the bounds of our backsides. So the RBL [Royal British Legion] got involved, and a lady from Birmingham, she saved my life. She sorted us out, she gave us vouchers for shopping, she gave us vouchers to buy new clothes.

"The RBL was - and has been - a complete lifeline."

The Black Voices choir performs at the opening service. Credit: ITV News Central

After a service this morning, which included a flyby and a performance from the Black Voices choir - the Field of Remembrance was officially opened to the public.The Royal British Legion encourages individuals to take part in remembrance in whichever way they wish.Many will find comfort in knowing the names of their loved ones stand side-by-side once more at the field here in Staffordshire.

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