Mayors for Peace – Hiroshima Memorial 2023

Winchester City Council during the mayoralty of Eleanor Bell, joined Mayors for Peace in 2019.  That year the city held its first commemoration of the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs in August 1944.  A letter from the mayors of both cities was read out and a number of organisations were represented, including Winchester Rotary, PeaceJam, the University and the Cathedral.  The event took place in Abbey House and included messages, meditations and music. 

The purposes of the “Mayors for Peace” are to contribute to the attainment of lasting world peace by arousing concern among citizens of the world for the total abolition of nuclear weapons through close solidarity among member cities as well as by striving to solve vital problems for the human race such as starvation and poverty, the plight of refugees, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation.

Although Covid caused a slight hiatus the event still took place online, but last year we were back in Abbey House.  On Thursday 5 August the 2023 commemoration took place, again at Abbey House.  Winchester Rotary was again invited and President Les Haswell gave a presentation on the seven Rotary Peace Centres throughout the world and Rotary Peace Poles. One of Rotary’s areas of focus is of course Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution.

Rotarian Luke Addison together with the chair of PeaceJam UK Faye Pretty gave a presentation about the organisation and the forthcoming conference in March 2024 at Winchester University. The University themselves were represented with a report on the progress of the ginkgo trees, the seeds for which were sent from Japan from a tree which survived the nuclear explosions. and also, a report on the Education Peace programme which they are developing for schools.   Paul Williams, Trustee of Trinity and who also represented the Buddhist peace organisation SGI-UK, facilitated the event.

There were reflective readings from some who had lived through the explosions as well a highly topical reflection from a Ukrainian refugee resident in Winchester, who also entertained with song and dance.

As always, the event was hosted by the Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Angela Clear, who spoke of the virtues of the Mayors for Peace organisation and its efforts to make the world a better place for all.

It is hoped that it will be possible to hold the event in a larger venue next year, so that more can attend.

Photos of the event can be seen here: Mayors for Peace

Read more on the Hampshire Chronicle website

Nick Bell

Peace Officer

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