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Reading Remembers the Forbury Four Years On

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READING comes together once again next Thursday (June 20) to remember those innocent victims who sadly lost their lives and were injured in the Forbury Gardens attacks on 20 June 2020.

Four years on, the town will remember James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails in a show of solidarity and support for their families and friends.

A private Memorial Service for family, friends and invited guests will take place at St Laurence’s Church at 6pm. They will then make their way to the permanent memorial stone at Forbury Gardens bandstand where there will be a short Civic Service at 7pm led by Reading Mayor Cllr Glenn Dennis and The Reverend Sonya Wratten. The Service will include a flower laying ceremony and a minute’s silence. 

Forbury Gardens will close at 3pm on the day but reopens at 6.30pm for members of the public who are invited to attend the Civic Service. Residents are welcome to bring their own flowers to lay as part of the ceremony.

The gardens then close again at 8pm and the Maiwand Lion will be lit from 9pm, with three beams of light shone into the night sky, in memory of James, Joe and David, and everybody affected.

Jackie Yates, Reading Borough Council Chief Executive, said:

“Next week’s Civic Memorial service at Forbury Gardens offers another opportunity for the town to stand in solidarity with the families and close friends who lost loved ones on that horrific day four years ago.

“Having worked closely with the families of James, Joe and David, and members of the community, to create a fitting memorial stone, this year’s ceremony will take place at the bandstand where it is located and, as in previous years, residents are invited to come and pay their respects and show their support for the victims and their loved ones.

“The thoughts of everybody in Reading remain with the families and friends who so needlessly loved lost ones that day, as well as all those injured or affected.”

Next Thursday’s Civic Service will be livestreamed on the Council’s Facebook page for those unable to attend.