There's an open invitation take part in a walk in Ripon on Sunday 4 November to mark the centenary of the death of one of the greatest war poets, Wilfred Owen.
Wildred Owen died aged 25 near Ors leading a unit over the Sambre-Oise canal in northern France. A few months earlier he had lived in Ripon in a massive army camp at Hellwath while recovering from shell shock.
To mark the centenary of his death on Sunday 4 November, the Rev Caitlin Carmichael-Davies, curate at Ripon Cathedral, will lead a walk from the cathedral to Hellwath and back again stopping at locations with an Owen connection, for prayers and readings from his letters and poems, several written in Ripon.
The walk will start at 8.40am and go via the rustic bridge off Mallorie Park Drive then up the fairy steps to Hellwath. The walk will resume at 0900 leaving Hellwath and stopping outside the cottage in Borrage Lane where Owen was given the use of a bedroom to write his poetry. He found the noise of children playing soldiers by the window too distracting and was then given the use of the attic which was much quieter.
A wreath of poppies will be laid at the cottage, now owned by Loretta Williams, a member of the cathedral community, and his poem Arms and the Boy will be read.
The walk will continue along Borrage Lane to Bondgate Bridge by the River Skell which Owen described as ‘a happy little stream.’ Here Professor Joyce Hill, a member of the cathedral chapter, will read one of his greatest poems, Strange Meeting.
Back at the cathedral in good time for the 10.30 Eucharist, the walkers will be met by the Very Rev John Dobson, Dean of Ripon, who will lead prayers and at the end of the service receive the gift of a bust of Owen, one of five created by the sculptor Anthony Padgett, and donated to the cathedral.
In March the cathedral marked the centenary of Owen’s birthday with the launch of a pilgrimage trail with his poems recited by Sam Gray, vice chairman of the Wilfred Owen Association. Mr Gray said: “We were very grateful to the cathedral for giving us this opportunity to share some of Wilfred’s poems. I would have liked to have come on the walk but I shall be at Ors with other association members for a day of special events including laying a wreath at his grave, lectures and a concert.”
The Dean commented:”Everyone is welcome to join the walk either at the cathedral, the rustic bridge, Hellwath or along Borrage Lane. In addition to Ripon residents, we hope some members of the association will be able to join us.”