A message from Rev. Richard Sherlock: Last November, Knaphill village witnessed and participated in a “first”. There was a public, civic Service of Remembrance on Armistice Day in the middle of the village. Knaphill has a War Memorial, but it is incorporated within the pulpit of Holy Trinity Church. Through the years, there have been very moving remembrance services in the church on Remembrance Sunday, but there had not been any event in the open, in the public area of the village.
In 2008, I arrived in the village as the new minister of Knaphill Baptist Church and have, since my childhood, witnessed public ceremonies around public memorials in all the towns and villages I have lived in and my wife and I were surprised there was nothing comparable here. This is why we set about changing this by arranging last years “11th of the 11th Service”, which was so well supported by the village.
We also soon discovered that there was a campaign to redevelop the ground in front of the old library site into a memorial garden, for use by the community to enjoy and reflect within. Unfortunately, this site is owned by Surrey County Council (SCC), who are under an obligation to maximise a return for the tax payer, rather than an investment in honour for those who have, and still are, putting themselves in harm’s way for us and our peace and security. Thus, this site is now up for sale. However, due to the tenacity of residents and especially of Knaphill Councillor Melanie Whitehand we have managed to gain permission to use this space for this year at least.
It is my prayer that this will lead to a redevelopment of this site that honours our service men and women and gives Knaphill a beautiful space in the centre of the village, rather than the dilapidated squalor we have now or in the future. A ‘convenience shop’ or flats set within an architecturally indistinct box and more tarmac for cars seems to be the last thing we need. Let’s see if we can take this campaign forward!
But, for now, I look forward to this year’s Armistice Service in the centre of the village in the grounds in front of the old library. We would welcome support from volunteers to help make this area look amazing and a fitting tribute ready for November. Please contact me if you would like to be involved.
Rev’d Richard Sherlock. Knaphill Baptist Church.