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Archbishop Sentamu dedicates Afghan Memorial Window

Friday 2nd October 2015

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, last night dedicated a new stained glass window at All Saints Pavement, a memorial to the York men and women who served in Afghanistan - including the three who were killed in action.

 

The window has been designed and made by Helen Whittaker and Barley Studio in Dunnington, and funded by the City of York Afghanistan Commemorative Appeal.  Barley Studio won the Masters Award for the window at the York Guild of Building Craftsmanship Awards, held last night.

The window shows the traditional symbol of peace in the form of a dove, which is also the symbol of the Holy Spirit.  Beneath the dove is a winding pavement, a reference to the Church of All Saints Pavement, and in the distance can be seen a glimpse of the Heavenly City.  Coloured lines in the pavement refer to the three Regiments which have lost men serving in Afghanistan: the Royal Dragoon Guards (maroon, gold and green), the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (red and blue) and the Royal Marines (blue, red, green and yellow). The three York servicemen are represented as individual stones, proudly displaying their regimental badges, and flying upwards towards the dove and the Heavenly City. 

Archbishop Sentamu said, “In my book, the men and women who served in Afghanistan are the bravest of the brave.  This window acts as a constant memory for those who served, those who were injured, and those who were killed in action.  It will act as a place where those who served, their friends and families can come to remember and pray for peace.”

Helen Whittaker said, “I met with the families of these three men several times while working on the design, and was inspired by their desire for peace and their sons’ commitment to their country and their comrades. 

At the bottom left of the window, below the inscription, grows a single White Rose of Yorkshire. The White Rose is surrounded by an array of poppies, the universal symbol of remembrance of the fallen. These poppies, placed along the pavement towards the Heavenly City, remind us that the sacrifice of all our servicemen and women in the service of their country should not be forgotten. Whilst their precious earthly lives were lost, they were given so that others might have peace – as Christ was sacrificed on the Cross for the salvation and redemption of all.” 

The City of York Afghanistan Commemorative Appeal was launched by The Press newspaper in 2011 and raised more than £17,000, thanks to support from thousands of readers and other residents from across the city. The appeal aimed to create a public artwork which would pay lasting tribute to the thousands of York men and women who served in Afghanistan - including the three who were killed in action, Marine David Hart, Trooper Ashley David Smith and Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton.

Chief Reporter Mike Laycock, who organised the newspaper’s fundraising drive, said: “It’s fantastic that, thanks to this newspaper’s appeal and the magnificent response of our readers, the efforts of thousands of York servicemen and women in Afghanistan will never be forgotten. It’s also wonderful that the appeal has led to the creation of such a beautiful window by one of the UK’s most talented stained glass artists, who is based in the York area.”

 

The Revd Jane Nattrass, Priest-in-Charge at All Saints Pavement said, "We have been glad to be part of plans to install such a beautiful window in the City of York. We are grateful for Helen Whittaker's work and for the generosity of so many people. It is a fitting memorial to those who gave their lives in Afghanistan which looks back at the cost of war but also helps us to look forward to continue to seek peace in our world.  We have been touched by the number of people who have taken prayer cards depicting the window and offering prayers for peace."

 

  

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