Anguish as Petworth Memorial date changes

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FOR many years Tony Ball, now 82, and his friend John Brash, have made an annual visit to Horsham cemetery in Petworth on September 29 to remember their friends killed when their school was bombed in 1942.

And for the 70th anniversary of the horror which rocked the town when 28 children and teachers were killed by a lone German bomber, the two former Petworth Boys School pupils made special arrangements, John returning early from a holiday in Turkey.

But they were horrified to find the memorial service had been held a day early this year without their knowledge – because the September 29 anniversary date fell on a Saturday.

Although Petworth town councillors and townspeople had been informed, Tony, who now lives in Midhurst, was unaware.

“We are both angry, annoyed and upset about it,” said Mr Ball. “As far as I am concerned, the date is set in stone. If people want to change it because they don’t want to forego their leisure time when the date falls on a weekend, I think that is rather hypocritical.”

Petworth vicar Tim Wright said: “The service is not an official function as such; it’s organised by the primary school who want to commemorate the event. It’s clearly difficult for them to do it at the weekend. But we have learned from this.”