Last Sunday I was an invited guest at the Inaugural Commemoration Service of the Muslim Burial Ground Peace Garden on Horsell Common, Woking, and there follows a photographic record of the afternoon.
Plenty of khaki on show.
Zafar Iqbal, esteemed BigNote follower and organiser of the whole shebang, on the left (you will spot him in quite a few of the following photos), Jenny Mukerji in the foreground, and two photobombers (sorry gents, I don’t know your names).
And the wonderful Sophena Chisembele, whose father was the last man to be buried here in the original burial ground in 1947.
Time to go in.
The plaque commemorating the opening of the Peace Garden by Prince Edward in 2015 now adorns the entrance. The first time I visited, a very different plaque was to be seen at the entrance, which you will see if you click here, and scroll down to picture three.
Get yourselves sorted, you lot.
The press and the telly.
It’s an arty shot, before you ask. Okay, maybe not.
The Mayor of Woking and entourage.
Cheer up! We haven’t even started yet.
As you all know, because you’ve all seen the Brookwood Military Cemetery post, have you not, that the men originally buried here were reinterred in the military cemetery, just a few miles up the road, in the 1960s.
Now that, unless I am very much mistaken, is Muhammad Habib, standing in the doorway, manager of the Shah Jahan Mosque, and a most entertaining fellow, that I can tell you.
I don’t remember anything on the invitation about ‘bring your own chair’ . Perhaps she just takes it with her wherever she goes. Thinking ahead.
Anyway, the guests of honour begin to arrive.
…we begin with the speeches. A welcome from the Mayor of Woking, Councillor Graham Cundy,…
…followed by prayers from Imam Hafiz Hashmi, Shah Jahan Mosque,…
…and the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt. Reverend Andrew Watson,…
…and then speeches from Raja Rab Nawaz, representing the High Commission of Pakistan,…
…Colonel Andrew Wood TD VR, Deputy Brigade Commander (Reserves) HQ 11th Infantry Brigade,…
…and finally, Mohammad Monirul Islam Kabir, representing the High Commission of Bangladesh.
And so to the laying of the wreaths.
The Mayor first,…
..followed by the other dignitaries.
Lastly, Sophena. Newcomers may not realise that, behind the scenes, theBigNote played its part in the recent history of the Muslim Burial Ground Peace Garden, and if you were to click here and scroll down to the comments at the end of the post you arrive at, you will see what I mean.
Don’t forget that her father’s name is inscribed on the memorial.
A special lady.
Finally, a blessing from Imam Azim Hafiz MA OBE,…
…before the dignitaries return to the far end of the garden, and the service ends. We finish with a few post-event photos:
And they did cheer up, by the way, and played beautifully.
Good job, once again, Zafar.