A MEMORIAL bench dedicated to fallen servicemen was blessed after being placed in a church’s grounds by a group of armed forces veterans.

The bench, funded and installed by members of the Barnsley branch of the Yorkshire Regiment Association, was blessed by Fr Peter Needham of St John’s Church, Carlton, as part of the joint remembrance service with St Helen’s.

Members put the bench in the ground by hand, and it now faces the war memorial in front of St John’s Church on Church Street.

After the blessing, Fr Needham led the remembrance service and played The Last Post, before YRA branch chairman Phil Elwell recited the Ode of Remembrance.

The ceremony was unfortunately scaled back from initial plans, but member Stuart Garnham said the group was pleased to be able to continue its work to site memorial benches at areas of importance.

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“With the lockdown, we’ve had to change our plans,” he added.

“What we will do next year is the whole parade with our standards and a bugler, and have a proper ceremony, and Father Needham has said he will bless the bench again.

“You’ve got to plan, as these things don’t happen overnight.”

The YRA’s Barnsley branch, set up in 2016 and based on Wakefield Road, has further plans to site benches at Royston, Darfield and Penistone.

The benches are self-funded by members - former reservists and regular serving soldiers - and feature the YRA name and badge and the motto ‘Lest We Forget’.

The branch hopes to hold a fundraising Christmas dinner and auction on December 19, if Covid restrictions allow it.