VE Day 2020: Kensal Rise clergyman gives thanks to generation who fought for freedom
PUBLISHED: 09:49 04 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:56 04 May 2020
A clergyman has called for thanks to be given to those who fought for our freedom as the country marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe.
Reverend David Ackerman of the Parish Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Kilburn Lane, Kensal Green, made the call ahead of the UK celebrating the anniversary of VE Day and those who fought.
And he praised the Windrush generation and migrants from countries where there is no peace for reminding people of freedom’s importance.
Rev Ackerman said: “This could be the last occasion when we will be able to honour that generation. There is no freedom without peace.
“We can forget to celebrate things like freedom It takes people from other countries who live in places where there is no peace to remind us of the need to do that.
“I’m grateful that the community here relates to many different communities, and pleased we can give thanks as a nation.”
In tribute to the generation who came to the UK to help rebuild following the 1939-45 conflict, he added that they brought a deeper Christian faith and appreciation of what makes Britain good.
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Their contribution has been celebrated with the creation of a Windrush Garden at the church.
A place of worship for more than 175 years, St John’s did not escape the Second World War unscathed.
During the night of November 16, 1940, a bomb destroyed Peach Street and Farrant Street while damaging Huxley Street, Kilburn Lane and Fifth Avenue.
The bomb blew out most of the stained glass in the church, causing severe damage to the roof.
Queen’s Park Court now sits on the land, which belonged to the church until 1948.
Father Eldred Thomas Tipper, the church’s vicar during the conflict, recalled after the bombing the moment he entered the church: “I went into the church with a working man.
“He was crying and I was too. He said ‘Cheer up Father. We’ll build it up again’ and we did.”
And it’s a sense of belonging – to a faith, country, cause or community – which Rev Ackerman sees as a way of rebuilding the lives of young people trying to escape gangs and violence.
“The key to understanding the future is community,” he said.
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