Last week many of you will have attended or watched on television the various events that were held to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, such as the Carmarthenshire service and parade that I attended in Carmarthen Park where we were privileged to be addressed by Lord Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury. He stressed the sheer scale of the loss of life from every town and village – a point echoed by Kate Adie as she describes how the involvement of women and the home communities was so much greater than in any war before. Locally men and women were working in the dirty and dangerous work in the munitions factory in Pembrey. Having the national Eisteddfod here last week reminded us of the 1917 Eisteddfod when the Chair was left empty, as the winner Hedd Wyn had been killed in battle only days before.
Yet the memory of these commemorative events will soon fade. That is why I was pleased to hear that the Woodland Trust plans to plant a lasting memorial to WW1 – four areas of Centenary Woods, one in each of the home nations, and particularly delighted that the area chosen for Wales is on our doorstep, between Ffos Las and Carway. With plans for 90,000 native trees and a blaze of wild flowers, including the symbolic Flanders poppy, this will provide a lasting place, permanently accessible to the public, for quiet contemplation and reflection. The Woodland Trust is still raising funds for this project and would be grateful for any contributions.
There is a guided walk of the site open to all on Thursday 14th August starting at 6.30 from the Ffos Las racecourse carpark.