THE Press can today unveil the stained glass window which will be created at a York church in lasting tribute to the thousands of local men and women who served in Afghanistan.

One of Britain’s top stained glass artists, Helen Whittaker of Barley Studios in Dunnington, will install the window this summer at All Saints Church in Pavement.

It has been funded by the City of York Afghanistan Commemorative Appeal, which was launched by The Press in 2011 and has raised more than £17,000 to recognise the city’s sons and daughters who answered the call of duty in Afghanistan, and provide a memorial to the three York servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice: Marine David Hart, Trooper Ashley David Smith and Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton.

Helen said the main focus of the window design was the traditional symbol of peace in the form of a dove, which was also the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

"Beneath the dove is a winding pavement, made from cobbles or sets; a reference to the Church of All Saint’s Pavement, which stands on one of the earliest paved streets in York," she said.

"In the distance can be seen a glimpse of the Heavenly City, the final resting place of all our journeys."

She said there were several evocative references to pavements in Holy Scripture, and the coloured lines in the pavement referred to the three Regiments which had lost men serving in Afghanistan: the Royal Dragoon Guards (maroon, gold and green), the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery (red and blue) and the Royal Marines (blue, red, green and yellow).

"The three York servicemen are represented as individual sets, proudly displaying their regimental badges, and flying upwards towards the heavenly City, a golden circular light beneath the dove, that illuminates the path of those no longer with us. The yellow colour also reminds us of the sun and desert earth of Afghanistan."

The window also features a single White Rose of Yorkshire, surrounded by an array of poppies, the universal symbol of remembrance of the fallen.

"These poppies, moving along the pavement towards the heavenly City, remind us that the sacrifice of all our servicemen and women in the service of their country should not be forgotten," said Helen.

A memorial inscription, placed above the Yorkshire Rose, will read:

"This window is dedicated to the Glory of God
to the memory of all those from York
who served their country in the cause of peace
and of those who gave their lives
in Afghanistan 2001-2014."