Priest to lead Armistice Day service in Ypres

Reverend Tim Jones has been asked to preach at the Remembrance Day event in Ypres
Reverend Tim Jones has been asked to preach at the Remembrance Day event in Ypres

A Suffolk priest has been invited to preach at one of the biggest Armistice Day events of the year in Belgium next month.

The Rev Tim Jones, diocesan director of ordinands and new ministries for the whole of Suffolk, will make the trip to Ypres for the service on November 11, which is supported by the Royal British Legion.

The service will be held at the cemetery, which is the site of three major World War One battles where many British soldiers were wounded and lost their lives.

“It’s a huge honour. I have never led prayers for a congregation of this size before,” said Mr Jones, who lives in West Stow.

“Of all the people who could have been asked to preach, I’m honoured to have been chosen.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has been asked next year so I’m startled to be considered worthy of it.”

Mr Jones will also lead the prayer at the Menin Gate at the Last Post to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendale which took place in the town from July to November 1917 and became one of the defining battles of World War One.

The service is expected to be attended by hundreds of people, including family members of those who died in the battle as well as present-day veterans and those who fought in World War Two.

“There are no veterans from the First World War left alive but there will be many people there who remember the war and the veterans who fought in it,” Mr Jones said.

“I’m aware that this service is of great importance both in history and to the people. It has been a long time since I lost sleep over giving a prayer but this has done it. I am aware of both the size and the importance of it.”