The Sandbach Peace pole was unveiled at a ceremony in Sandbach on Saturday, attended by Fiona Bruce MP, Keith Haines (Mayor of Sandbach), Rev Jeremy Tresise (Churches Together in Sandbach), Councillor Sam Corcoran and Bob Mynett and Val Atkinson who initiated the Sandbach Peace Pole project 3 years ago. Over 50 people attended the ceremony during which packets of jelly babies were handed out by Churches Together in Sandbach.
A Peace Pole is a monument that displays the message ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’. The Sandbach Peace Pole will display this message in English, German, Japanese and Arabic. The languages were chosen to reflect the former adversaries in world wars and the current troubles in Libya, Syria and Iraq.
Sam Corcoran, the lead councillor on the project, said, “Thank you all for coming here today for the unveiling of the Sandbach Peace Pole. I am grateful to Sandbach Town Council, Cheshire East Council and Churches Together in Sandbach for helping to make this happen.
This Peace Pole is currently covered by a red cloth. 20 years ago I spent 2 years in Kenya with the Volunteer Missionary Movement in an area close to Maasai country and that is a Maasai warrior cloak. Maasai warriors have a fearsome reputation, but they were the friendliest, smiliest people I know. Times change - fights between tribes in Kenya are now rare and Kenya is a relatively peaceful country. Most of the people here today have never experienced war. That is worth celebrating, BUT peace is something that must be continually supported. We must strive to settle arguments peacefully. We need only look to Syria to see what happens when things go wrong – to see the devastation that war causes. I am delighted that Cheshire East Council has agreed to welcome 3-5 Syrian refugee families.
The writing on the Peace Pole says May Peace Prevail on Earth in English, German and Japanese to remind us of countries who were our enemies in the First and Second World Wars and in Arabic to remind us of current conflicts in Libya, Syria and Iraq.
It is important to remember the horror of war and how important it is to promote peace. I would now like to hand over to Bob Mynett who, with Val Atkinson, instigated the Sandbach Peace Pole project..”
Rev Jeremy Tresise spoke about Jelly Babies which were marketed as Peace Babies in 1919 to celebrate the end of the First World War.
Councillor Keith Haines, Mayor of Sandbach, said, “I’m honoured to be here on behalf of Sandbach Town Council to mark the establishment of Sandbach’s Peace Pole. Congratulations to all who have worked so hard to bring this about and in particular, I want to thank Bob Mynett and Cllr. Sam Corcoran.
Earlier this year, on 1st July, I attended a ceremony at the War Memorial in the Market Square to mark the exact centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. To our generation, that battle, perhaps more than any other, defines the bloody, attritional nature of warfare. In five months of combat from July to November, an estimated one million men from all sides were killed, wounded or went missing.
Despite that carnage, humanity hasn’t learned the lessons of history. The 20th century was the most murderous in recorded history, with the total number of deaths from wars estimated at 187m. Taking 1914 as a start point, it was a century of almost unbroken war, with few and brief periods without organised armed conflict somewhere. Since the end of the cold war, it’s a matter of debate how far actions around the globe constitute a continuation of the era of world war. There’s no doubt that the 1990s were filled with formal and informal military conflict in Europe, Africa and western and central Asia, with the first 16 years of this century continuing the bloodshed. The world as a whole has not been at peace since 1914, and is certainly not at peace now.
On behalf of Sandbach Town Council, I’m proud to see this permanent reminder of the need to work for a civilised free society, liberated from the need for yet more slaughter.
Finally, I’d like to thank the fair organizers Joe White and his team for providing us with a p.a. system and delaying the start of the fair for us. Thank-you to everyone for coming along – the weather’s fine, so let’s all enjoy the delights of the funfair.