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From the Vicarage - June

Those of you who have not yet given Collingham Community Cinema a go – you are missing a treat. Back in January there was a showing of “The Great Escaper”, starring the two greats, Michael Caine and the late Glenda Jackson. It tells the story of the 89-year-old World War II Veteran, who having failed to secure an official place on a trip to mark the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2014 decided he would get there on his own! Based on the true exploits of Navy Veteran Bernard Jordan who absconded from the Care Home in which he lived with his wife, the film explores the themes of war and loss, love and memory, regret and hope.

The anniversary around which the story is based was now a decade ago and this month, June 2024, will mark the 80th Anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings when around 150,000 men landed on five separate beaches in Normandy. Historians often refer to this significant and pivotal event as “the Beginning of the End of the War”. But on D-Day alone, as many as 4,400 were killed (soldiers, sailors, airmen, coastguard men) from the combined Allied forces and some 9,000 were wounded or missing.

In 2024, any gathering of Veterans will necessarily be few and far between. But in a year, and a time, when the world seems perhaps more fragile and volatile than ever, this anniversary serves to remind us of our longing for an end to War and our longing for a flourishing of Peace. Towards the end of “The Great Escaper”, there is a tender moment between the Veteran, who has returned from his ‘escape’ as something of a local hero, and his wife. Seventy years on, he shares with his wife the pain he has carried for 70 years – his sense of grief surrounding the loss of a fellow comrade who died on the beaches, and his sense of guilt at returning to his own life. With love and wisdom his wife tells him, “It wasn’t your fault he was killed on the beach. It wasn’t then, and it isn’t now - and I tell you this, we have never wasted one second of our time together. All right, we’ve only done normal, little, everyday things. But, by God, we did them well.” On Thursday 6th June our Church Bells here in Collingham (newly refurbished thanks to the generous donations of people nearby and further afield) will be sharing in the nation’s, “Ringing for Peace” at 6.30pm.

On Sunday 2nd June our 10am Eucharist will focus upon “Praying for Peace”. Through Readings, Music, Silence & Sacrament we will add our normal, little, everyday prayers to the great tide of prayer which cries out for the healing and the well-being of our world, and we will ask for ourselves the strength, the love and the wisdom to use aright the gift of the life we have been given, and to live well.

Carolyn (Vicar)


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