Honiton pensioners plan peace vigil

Event will bew held outside parish church on Hiroshima Day.

PENSIONERS are planning to hold a vigil for world peace in Honiton.

The event will take place outside St Paul’s Church on August 6, Hiroshima Day.

“We were moved by seeing the military vehicles on the forecourt of the church on Armed Forces Day and thought it was time to do something for peace,” said 92-year-old retired Methodist minister Reverend Merfyn Temple.

“We hear so much about war and conflict between peoples of different religions, but we all worship a common God and we all share the same Earth. War is outdated.”

The senior citizens will begin their vigil at 8.16am.

“This time and date was chosen for us since it marks the first use of atomic weapons on civilians, including women and children,” said Edna Simpson, who revealed she would be wearing a badge saying: No More Hiroshimas, She has met a survivor of the bomb who lost his family.

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Her husband Tony Simpson, author of several publications on nuclear weapons, said: “Many soldiers reject nuclear weapons, because they are indiscriminate: Politicians say nukes will not be used but, of course, they have been.

“The first atom bomb was dropped by a US war plane on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, then another on Nagasaki. Although it is said to have shortened the war, the A-bomb had terrible consequences and started the nuclear arms race.

“A single bomb killed almost 100,000 in a few minutes and 50,000 later from radiation and burns, mostly civilian men women and children. Thousands of people going to work or school were vaporised.”

Mr Simpson added: “We especially hope to see young people. It is their world and we are using their suggestion of peace badges from around the world and and a board for people to write their ideas and messages for peace.

“We are outside a church because the atomic bomb killed people of all religions,” said Mr Temple, “including 23 American prisoners of war and thousands of Korean and other nationals. War doesn’t only kill young soldiers, as we have recently learned from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

During their vigil, the group will promote the idea of a ‘Peace Day’ in Honiton, to bring together people of all faiths and none.

“We are hoping this could be held on United Nations Day - October 24 - if there is sufficient support.’ said Mr Temple. “Perhaps we could also establish a multi-faith ‘peace pole’, as other towns around the world have done. We already have a pole with peace in different languages and we are looking for a suitable location, such as the Glen. We want to hear from all faiths what we can do for peace.”

What do you think about the peace day? Write to the Midweek Herald at the address on page 2 or email midweek@archant.co.uk