Reading comes together to remember James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails at a Memorial Service which will pay tribute to the innocent victims who lost their lives and those injured at the Forbury Gardens on June 20th last year.
One year on to the day, a reflective Memorial Service will take place in the Forbury Gardens from 4pm.
Invited to the service will be the family and friends of James, Joe and David, those injured, witnesses, members of the emergency services who bravely responded on the day and cared for those who were injured, representatives of Reading's many diverse communities and our voluntary sector partners. 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.
Councillor Jason Brock, Reading Borough Council Leader, said: “One year on, Reading will come together as a community on Sunday June 20th and, in solidarity with their families and friends, remember James, Joe and David.
“In the days which followed the horrific events of last year, Reading saw an outpouring of grief and sadness which united the local community, with support from people around the country and across the world.
“I remain extremely proud of the united and determined way in which Reading responded at the time. I am also certain it will respond in the same way one year on, whether people are attending the Memorial Service or choosing to quietly pay their respects at home.
“Our thoughts will always be with those who lost loved ones and with those injured.”
Reading Borough Council is encouraging people to contribute to the #ReadingTogether fund https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/reading-together-memorial Contributions will go towards a permanent memorial to James, Joe and David, and Reading Borough Council is working closely with their families and friends and stakeholders from across the community on appropriate plans.
The impacts of the tragedy remain significant and especially at anniversary moments it is normal to feel sad, afraid or overwhelmed. There is support available through Victims First on 0300 1234 148 or at https://www.victims-first.org.uk/.
Additional support information is available at http://together.reading.gov.uk