AROUND 150 people, young and old, braved Friday’s (27 January) weather to spend 90 minutes at the Palmer’s Rest Garden in High View Avenue to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Thurrock has been holding events there on international Holocaust Day – the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp – for several years.
This year children from seven Thurrock schools, Stifford Clays Primary, Corringham Primary, St Thomas of Canterbury, Woodside, Holy Cross – whose pupils performed a poem and prayer – Grays Convent, and Gable Hall joined the commemoration.
The audience was reminded of the importance of remembering all atrocities throughout history like those seen in Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur and more recently Syria.
Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Cathy Kent, told the audience: “Today’s Holocaust Memorial Day will be marked across the UK and I am very proud that Thurrock holds this annual event – one of over 3,000 across the country.
“The theme of this year’s Day is ‘How Can Life Go On?’.
She added: “It is important we all stand against the hatred that can lead to atrocities such as the Holocaust.
“And it is equally important we make sure our young people know and understand the lessons from history. I am very proud that young people inspired the beautiful memorial to the Holocaust that we will all see later this morning.”
East Tilbury stonemasons – Madstone Ltd – donated their skills and sponsorship to complete the memorial which states: “In remembrance of the millions of people killed in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides throughout the world. We honour the survivors from regimes of hatred and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.”
Other speakers included Mr Hilton Ellis who gave a Jewish Blessing, Rev Brian Joseph O’Shea from Grays Catholc Church who read a prayer, and Rev Canon Darren Barlow led the services, Cllr Sue MacPherson, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Russell Cherry, Shadow Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Cllr John Kent, Leader of the Labour group also spoke at the event which was attended by seven schools.
The ceremony concluded with the traditional laying of pebbles at the permanent Holocaust memorial in the Gardens.