A Partney woman has shared her emotional account as one of 300 volunteers lighting thousands of individual flames at the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Beyond the Deepening Shadow is a public act of remembrance for the lives of the fallen, honouring their sacrifice.
Jane Whybrow - who has also volunteered at the Olympics, Paralympics and the Grand Prix at Silverstone - said she was among thousands of applicants and couldn’t believe it when she was successful.
She said: “I saw an article about The Tower Remembers a number of weeks ago. It mentioned that a select team of 300 volunteers would be lighting the lamps. I searched for the volunteer application form and sent it, despite it stating that the interviews were the following day.
“I thought no more about it then I got an email about three weeks later inviting me to interview at the Tower of London!
“I was thrilled! I was happy the get that far. I went to London for the interview which was inside the Tower complex. That evening I received an email telling me I was successful. I couldn’t believe it. There were thousands of applications.”
‘A flame for tears of sorrow and joy. For what was, and what might have been. We will remember.’Jane Whybrow
Here is Jane’s account of the ceremony:
BEYOND THE DEEPENING SHADOWS
As darkness fell the swirling smoke gave the moat an unearthly quality as a procession of 40 pairs of volunteers dressed in grey, walked slowly towards the lighting ceremony.
The atmosphere was quiet and still. The voices of the people waiting in the crowds above muted, and respectful.
At 5pm a bell chimed, once. The podium, floodlit.
The Yoemen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress The Tower Of London appeared from inside the Tower and proceeded to their positions centre stage. The strains of ‘The Last Post’, played by a bugler silhouetted against the London skyline, haunting in the surrounding quiet. A minute’s silence. The light from the flame appeared before the bearer came into view.
The first three lanterns, lit by military personnel, the Yeomen Warders following on.
We moved into position and proceeded to light the remaining 10,000 lanterns throughout the moat to the background of choral music.
More and more lanterns were lit, the darkness ebbed away and the moat was filled with a flickering golden light.
The floodlights threw our shadows into relief on the Tower walls as we moved slowly and thoughtfully lighting lantern by lantern.
Warders positioned throughout the moat stood in reflective poses, their red and black uniforms standing out starkly against the growing golden sea of light.
As we made our way back, our own shadows once again played on the Tower walls, sometimes very clear, sometimes muted, always in motion.
I feel privileged to have been part of Beyond The Deepening Shadows.
My lasting memory is of standing in the middle of a field of glowing flickering flames stretching into the distance, and experiencing a sense of calm and tranquillity, but that, tinged with great sadness.
Time stood still, and I knew I would forever be part of something very special.