The King’s Lord-Lieutenant for County Londonderry, Mrs Alison Millar, has formally launched the Parish of Tamlaghtfinlagan’s four-day long Festival of Remembrance in Ballykelly.

It was standing room only in St Findluganus’ Church as the Rector, Rev Canon Harold Given, led the festival’s Opening Service at which music was provided by the North-West Choir. Canon Given welcomed the congregation, which included members of the Armed Forces past and present.

The highlight of the evening was the dramatic ‘launch’ of the parish’s ‘Poppy Net’, which is made up of thousands of woollen poppies knitted and crocheted by Tamlaghtfinlagan parishioners, people in the wider Ballykelly community and members of parishes throughout the Diocese. The poppy net, which is suspended from the church tower, measures almost 19 metres in length. It was inspired by the ceramic poppy installation at the Tower of London, in 2018, which marked the centenary of the ending of the First World War.

After Thursday evening’s service, Mrs Millar – who was accompanied by the Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet for the County of Londonderry, Cadet Chris Johnston, Royal Artillery – planted a rowan tree in front of the church. It was one of only 300 Queen’s Canopy trees distributed throughout the UK to mark the late sovereign’s Platinum Jubilee. The tree was presented to the parish last month and came in a pot bearing Her Late Majesty ‘s cypher. The Lord-Lieutenant was assisted in the tree-planting ceremony by one of Tamlaghtfinlagan’s longest-attending parishioners, Mr Albert Hepburn.

The Festival Of Remembrance will continue until 6pm on Sunday evening. Collection buckets will be in place in the church and hall throughout the event, and donations – in aid of the Poppy Appeal and Church Funds – will be much appreciated. The parish’s annual Remembrance Service will take place at 10.45am on Sunday morning.

(NOTE: The daylight photographs of Tamlaghtfinlagan Parish Church and the poppy net were kindly provided by Nigel McFarland.)