HUNDREDS of children of Armed Forces personnel attended their own Festival of Remembrance or watched it on a livestream from Ripon Cathedral.

North Yorkshire is home to 3,560 children whose parents are servicemen or women and 230 school in the county have service children as pupils. The work of many of them was on display at the cathedral.

The event was hosted by The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL, Canon Matthew Pollard and Grahame Shepherd, former head of Le Cateau School, who received an MBE for his work in getting Service Pupil Premium funding established.

Dean John said: “It is always a great privilege to host this regional service for the children of military families at Ripon Cathedral.

“It is a particularly important moment for children whose parents give and risk so much through their military service for the cause of our security and world peace.

"The children themselves pay a price when a parent is deployed. My hope is that they will leave this service knowing that they are valued and we appreciate the contribution they make in the cause of peace.”

The altar was decorated with more than 300 poppy mandalas created by students during 16 workshops at schools, including Year 9 pupil Daniel Hibbins of Risedale School in Hipswell.

He said: “It was a lovely way to remember the sacrifices that have been made by service personnel, to make my world a better place.”

Also on display was the Welcome to Our World photo exhibition, which featured more than 100 entries to a Month of the Military Child photo challenge earlier this year, plus new art and writing contributions from Colburn Primary School and Leeming RAF Primary School.

Pupils from 24 of the county’s schools attended the service and each school took a globe to represent their place in the world.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for children and families, Cllr Janet Sanderson, said: “Each year, these services are not only a poignant act of remembrance, but a beautiful celebration of the identity and achievements of the military children whose families make such an important contribution to our county.

“After so many years, the services have become an integral part of the calendar for many schools with service pupils on roll. They give this wonderful group of children and young people the opportunity to make their voices heard.”

Contributions to the service came from the St Francis Xavier School in Richmond, the Wensleydale School Choir, the Service Children’s Community Choir and Nepalese dancers from Le Cateau Community Primary School. Prayers were read by pupils from Hipswell Primary School.

Dandelion Poem, celebrating the official flower of the military child, was read by Dora Greenhalgh from Great Ouseburn Primary School and Seren Campbell from Wensleydale School.

There were readers and standard bearers from Richmond School and Sixth Form College and wreath layers from Wavell Primary School and Risedale School.