Mayors for Peace commemoration 2022

Tuesday 9 August 2022 was the 77th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 2019, during the mayoralty of Eleanor Bell, Winchester became one of the 85 cities in the UK to join Mayors for Peace. 8,200 cities worldwide are part of this network, established in 1982 by the Mayor of Hiroshima. A commemorative event was held that year at Abbey House. Sadly, the Covid pandemic intervened, resulting in a full event not being possible until this year. 

This was held at Abbey House hosted by the present Mayor of Winchester Cllr Derek Green. Eleanor read a message issued on the day, by the present Mayor of Nagasaki to all participating Mayors. We were honoured to be invited to attend, and President Deborah Macartney and several other club members were there. A small choir (members of the group which performed at the ARC event on 6 August) were there and a statement was read by one of the Ukrainian ladies about the present nuclear threat that has arisen as a result of the war.

A number of local organisations were represented – the PeaceJam UK group (led by past D1110 DG Caroline Millman) included our own Luke Addison, who eloquently described PeaceJam’s work and there were also addresses from Beth Flint of Winchester City of Sanctuary (who gave details of the cultural event to take place at the Cathedral in November) and John Brackstone of the University of Winchester – the University has been given seeds from a ginkgo tree which survived Hiroshima and eight seedlings have emerged – two of which he brought to the event.  The event was facilitated by Paul Williams of Trinity Winchester, who also represented the Buddhist peace organisation SGI-UK.

A very moving occasion and a stark warning to all.

Photos can be seen here (includes a video of Eleanor Bell reading the letter from Hiroshima):  Mayors for Peace

Gill Russell

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