The Catenians

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A Place to Remember

Publish Date: Fri 26th Jul 2019

A Place to Remember

Catenians remembered at the National Memorial Arboretum

The dedication of a permanent memorial for Catenians and their families and friends took place on 13 July at the National Memorial Arboretum in the beautiful and very apt setting of a wildflower meadow in full bloom.

On a day that will be remembered by those present for years to come, David Rowley welcomed guests and gave opening remarks. The memorial dedication was led by Archbishop Bernard Longley and there was a reading from the Book of Wisdom by Phil Brown with Intercessions by Eileen Rowley.

In his dedication, Archbishop Longley said: “This place, and this memorial, belongs to many, and in a particular way it belongs to the Catenians and all those associated with your work.”

He added: “Today we remember all those who mourn the faithful departed, and the many people who will come and find solace and comfort in this beautiful place, as they pray here and reflect.”

During the service, the Gresley Male Voice Choir performed Morte Christe, words by Isaac Watts, arranged by Emrys Jones; Gwahoddiad, ords by Lewis Hartsough, arranged by John Tudor Davies; and Mansions of the Lord, words by Randall Wallace, arranged by Nick Glennie-Smith. Meanwhile, bugler Antonio Socci played the last post.

There followed a minute’s silence before Archbishop Longley gave the concluding prayer. David Rowley closed the proceedings.

David launched The Grand President’s Memorial Appeal during his term of office in 2016 in order to raise money to establish a Catenian Association Memorial. He explained: “For me and many others, having a permanent memorial here was a dream, and as you can see, it is now a reality.”

He added: “One memory I have always carried around with me is of my grandfather, George Henry Rowley, who gave his life in the First World War, on the Somme in January 1917. My sisters and I never understood why our grandmother was so sad for most of her life. We perhaps should never forget the impact of such events on families. So, George Henry, you and your family are remembered here with many, many others in a similar situation.”

A determined team of supporters managed to raise sufficient funds to build a suitable memorial. David was keen to thank all those who had helped: “Thank you to all those individuals, Circles and Provinces that have contributed to the memorial appeal, particularly Province 6 and past director Tony Steven, and my own Province 15 and director David Baldam. I would also like to extend thanks to my own Circle. The last two Derby presidents, Andy Holden and David Barke, both made the memorial appeal the charity for their year in office, and this has helped to get this project over the line.”

Talking about former Derby president Andy Holden, David said: “Sadly Andy passed away recently, taken from us too soon. I mention Andy as an ex-serviceman, as this is what the memorial is all about. It was also my feeling that Andy and others like him in the Association can and should be remembered here.”

It is hoped that the memorial will be a beacon for Catenians and their families to visit whenever they are passing The National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. David added: “The intention with this memorial is to make it all-embracing. It will remember all those Catenians, their families and friends who suffered, were wounded or gave their lives in conflicts since the foundation of the Association in 1908.”

Summing up, David said: “One of the things that has struck me over the past few weeks, visiting here, is the wide range of memorials that there are and I’m sure we have seen them on the way down. And it is wonderful, absolutely wonderful, that we as a Catenian Association, are here now as part of this wide community. I would encourage anyone who is visiting in the future to spend some time at the memorial, remembering loved ones who have gone before.”

The Catenian memorial is situated in a peaceful place on the edge of a large open space close to the river, which the British Legion have made into a poppy field.

Entry to the Arboretum is free but there is a car parking charge of £3. There are donation boxes around if anyone wishes to make a financial contribution. For more details about the Arboretum, visit the website at www.thenma.org.uk

AB 3

The Gresley Male voice choir

AB 4

Archbishop Bernard Longley

AB 2

Don and Toni Maclean