Rotherham stands together to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

Published Tuesday, 31st January 2017
Leader, Cllr Chris Read & The Mayor, Cllr Lindsay Pitchley

Hundreds of people of all ages and from all walks of life gathered in Rotherham to mark this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

Around 300 people attended a moving ceremony in All Saints Square on Friday (27 January) – hosted by the Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Lindsay Pitchley, and featuring a number of songs and readings linked to this year’s national theme of “How can life go on?”.

In Rotherham, faith leaders, local community members and dignitaries came together in a show of unity and solidarity – urging all the community to stand side-by-side in the face of hatred and discrimination, and to commit to a positive future.

Cllr Pitchley said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number of people from across the borough who came forward to speak and support this – we saw many more people join us than last year’s event, which is really positive.

“It was an extremely moving occasion, which brought together people of all ages, and from all communities. Thank you to everyone who came along to help Rotherham send a clear message that we stand together in the face of hatred and discrimination.”

Amongst the performances, Year 4 pupils from St Ann’s Junior and Infant School performed their school anthem, ‘Can You Hear My Voice,’ and students from Oakwood High School sang ‘Something Inside So Strong.’

An original song – ‘How Can Life Go On’ - was performed by Nic Harding, and Clifton Arts and Community School student and soloist, Vaniya Farooq, sang ‘With You’ from Ghost the Musical.

On display at the event was a hand-crafted angel – with wings made out of the written pledges which local people made at last year’s Holocaust Memorial Day. It was created and donated from the Festival of Angels event which was held in the town earlier this year, organised by Rotherham Ethnic Minority Alliance (REMA). This is now on display at Rotherham Town Hall.

Faith leaders, community members and dignitaries in attendance included Janet Wheatley, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire; Dr Julie MacDonald, South Yorkshire's High Sheriff; Major Adrian Hunt from Military Community Veterans Centre; Rabbi Yonason Golomb from Sheffield Synagogue; Imam Zahid Hussain from Rotherham Council of Mosques; Vicar Rev Canon David Bliss from Rotherham Minster; Michal Bily, Chair of Roma Khamoro; Cllr Chris Read Leader of Rotherham Council; Cllr Allen Cowles, Rotherham Council’s Leader of the Opposition; Sharon Kemp, Chief Executive of Rotherham Council, Alex Armitage, Rotherham Mayor’s Consort; Cllr Harry Ellis, Mayor of Wakefield and Janet Ellis, Mayoress of Wakefield.

The public event in Rotherham is now in its second year and will be an annual event to help local people mark Holocaust Memorial Day.