Young and old unite to pay their tributes

WW1 service of remembrance at St Michael's Linlithgow
WW1 service of remembrance at St Michael's Linlithgow

A special service to commemorate the start of the Great War took place last week at one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks.

St Michael’s Parish Church, located next to Linlithgow Palace, hosted more than 500 invited guests at the ceremony, organised by West Lothian Council.

The service, which was the largest of its kind to be held in the district, had been arranged so that more than 200 school children could take part after the summer holidays. All 83 schools in the area were represented.

Vice Lord-Lieutenant George McNeill joined representatives from West Lothian Council, community groups, the armed forces and ex-services organisations, local politicians and the Lord Advocate of Scotland.

A number of West Lothian residents, aged 100 years and more, also attendedwith their families.

The service was led by the Rev. Dr Stewart Gillan, minister of St Michael’s Parish Church, while the Rev. Fr Paul Kelly, parish priest of St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, delivered the sermon and the Rev. Christine Barclay, rector of the Episcopal Churches of St Columbia’s Bathgate and St Peter’s Linlithgow, led the prayers.

Guests also attended a reception in the grounds of Linlithgow Palace where a selection of themed cakes were served. Local bakery Oliphants donated treats and a commemorative cake.

West Lothian Provost Tom Kerr delivered a welcome message while council leader John McGinty gave a vote of thanks to all those who attended.

CouncillorMcGinty said: “The 100-year anniversary of the start of the Great War represents a significant milestone and one which the council felt should be commemorated.

“For the council, it was important that our school children could take part.

“It is estimated that there were approximately 2500 casualties from West Lothian during World War One.

“Thousands more served in the armed forces and family members and friends left at home had to cope with the worry and hardship of their loved ones being off at war.”

Provost Kerr added: “It was a fitting service and one which I was proud to have taken part in.

“It’s important we ensure our youth are not allowed to forget the sacrifices that were made.”