Reading Together Civic Memorial Service
One year on a reflective Memorial Service took place in the Forbury Gardens.
Reading came together to remember James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails at a Memorial Service which paid tribute to the innocent victims who lost their lives and those who were injured at the Forbury Gardens on 20th June 2020.
A message from The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
On Saturday 20th June 2020 a devastating attack took place in the heart of Reading, which resulted in three men tragically losing their lives – James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails. As the first anniversary approaches, Reading Borough Council along with the families of the victims and the local community prepare to pay tribute to those who died, and to everyone affected by the attack, including those who were injured, those who witnessed the attack and to our colleagues in the emergency services who acted so swiftly to prevent further harm.
One year on, a reflective Memorial Service will take place in the Forbury Gardens from 4pm on Sunday 20th June. The service will be led by Cllr David Stevens, Mayor of Reading and will include tributes to the victims and readings, followed by the laying of floral tributes at the Forbury Bandstand. The public are invited to join the Memorial Service online via the live stream on the Council’s Facebook page from 4pm https://www.facebook.com/Readingcouncil The service is also open to the public; however, places are very limited due to ongoing COVID restrictions on large gatherings in public spaces, and the Council is respectfully requesting that anyone who wishes to attend reserves a place online at https://whatsonreading.com/reading-together.
As a mark of respect, the Council’s flag will fly at half-mast on 20th June and in tribute the Maiwand Lion will be lit from dusk throughout the night. Three white beams of light will shine up into the sky, a commemorative symbol which will be visible for miles around. The pathway leading to the Maiwand Lion will feature 365 lights – one to mark every day since the tragic evening one year ago. If residents would like to lay floral tributes at the Forbury Bandstand, the gardens will be open from 6am until noon on Sunday 20th June. The gardens will close at noon to allow for preparations for the Memorial Service and open to the public again Monday morning 21st June.
The Council is also working with the families of the victims and the local community to create a permanent memorial that will become a place for remembrance and reflection. Forbury Gardens has been at the centre of our town, both physically and spiritually for centuries, and the image of the Maiwand Lion stands as a constant reminder of the town’s strength, compassion and unity. The permanent memorial will be a calm and peaceful space sitting within the historic Abbey Quarter serving as a place of reflection and remembrance for the lives so tragically cut short and for all those affected by the attacks that have devastated the entire community of Reading.
Reading Remembers Two Years After The Forbury
Monday 20 June 2022 marks the two-year anniversary of the attacks at Forbury Gardens.
Reading comes together again to remember the innocent victims who lost their lives and those injured at Forbury Gardens on 20 June 2020.
Two years to the day after the horrific events, the town will remember James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails.
A Memorial Service for family, friends and invited guests will take place at St Laurence’s Church at 6pm. At the end of the service attendees will make their way to Forbury Gardens where a minute’s silence will be held at 7pm, alongside a flower laying ceremony led by families and friends, alongside Mayor of Reading, Councillor Rachel Eden, and Reading Borough Council Leader, Councillor Jason Brock.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the public ceremony in Forbury Gardens and are welcome to bring their own flowers to lay as part of the ceremony, which will also be livestreamed on the Council’s Facebook page.
At 9.45pm, Reading’s historic Maiwand Lion – which quickly became a symbol of the town’s solidarity in the days and weeks which followed the attacks – will be again poignantly lit up, in memory of James, Joe and David, and everybody affected.
Reading Borough Council continues to work with the families of James, Joe and David and the local community on designs for a permanent memorial and hopes to be in a position to announce more details in the weeks to come.
The Council is continuing to encourage people to contribute to the #ReadingTogether fund https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/reading-together-2022 Contributions will go towards the permanent memorial.
Fundraising for a permanent memorial in Forbury Gardens, in consultation with the victims’ families, the community and residents of Reading.
Support services and organisations are available to support those affected by the attack – victims, witnesses, and residents.
If you are still feeling affected by recent events and like to talk to someone about how you feel, please contact Victims First, for free emotional and therapeutic support, telephone 0300 1234 148.
You can also contact your GP and call Talking Therapies on 0300 365 2000.
If you think there is a significant and immediate risk of harm to you or someone else call Emergency Services 999.