Over 300 people from across Bedfordshire came together at Bunyan Meeting, Bedford on Sunday 13 May 2018 to celebrate the work of the Voluntary Organisations in Bedfordshire. The service was also held to commemorate the Commonwealth and the end of World War One.
HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, accompanied by her husband Professor Joe Nellis, and supported by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Colonel Colin Mason OBE and her six Lord-Lieutenant Cadets, welcomed the Bishop of St Albans The Rt Rev Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of Bedford The Rt Rev Richard Atkinson OBE, High Sheriff of Bedfordshire Julian Polhill, the Deputy Speaker of Bedford Borough Council, the Deputy Mayor of Luton, the Chief Executive of Bedford Borough Council, the Deputy Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police, the Chairman of Central Bedfordshire Council and Town Mayors from across the county, including representatives of countywide organisations and armed forces personnel.
Guests were welcomed on arrival with a Guard of Honour from various Cadet Units in the county. Deputy Lieutenants were on hand to usher guests to their seats on arrival.
The service was led by the Revd Chris Damp of Bunyan Meeting, the address was given by the Bishop of St Albans The Rt Rev Dr Alan Smith and the blessing was given by the Bishop of Bedford The Rt Rev Richard Atkinson OBE. The Royal British Legion presented the Royal British Anglian Regiment Association Standard Union Flag and the Bedfordshire County Standard during the first hymn and two of the Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadets presented the Lieutenancy Flag and the Bedfordshire Flag.
The Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadets led the prayers during the Service which featured an appearance from Pam Rhodes and music from the Phoenix Choir, as well as readings by Vice Lord-Lieutenant Colonel Colin Mason OBE and Major Graham Bailey from the Salvation Army.
Trumpeter Tom Rowe, accompanied by organist Brian Caves, played Crown imperial (March) by Sir William Walton as the Lord-Lieutenant’s procession left the church.
Speaking after the service the Lord-Lieutenant, Helen Nellis said “It was a great pleasure to hold this special service which honours so many of our Bedfordshire heroes in the place which is the home of our most famous son, John Bunyan. The messages in his famous “Pilgrims Progress” are evident in the lives of us all. We are fortunate indeed to have a wealth of people going the extra mile to help us build strong and happy communities where all can flourish – something for which millions of brave soldiers gave their lives 100 years ago.”
Picture L to R: Cadet Warrant Officer Lewis Jobbling (Bedfordshire & Cambridgeshire Wing Air Training Corps), Colour Sergeant Honor Marshall (Beds & Herts Army Cadet Force), Fire Cadet Charlie Beresford (Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service), HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis, Police Cadet Natasha Newton (Bedfordshire Police), Cadet Sergeant Adam Wu (Bedford Modern School Combined Cadet Force) and Petty Officer Cadet Katharine Potter (Bedfordshire Sea Cadets).