11:11 Monday 22 April 2013

Memorial for Quakers unveiled at arboretum

Written byHELEN KREFT

A MEMORIAL to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) wartime service has been unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The memorial, developed by the Quaker Service Memorial Trust and designed by Staffordshire sculptor and Quaker, Rosemary Barnett, will serve as a focal point for commemoration of the humanitarian work conducted by Friends in times of conflict.

While the principles of their Peace Testimony meant that most Quakers were unable to serve in the armed forces during wartime, many men and women instead volunteered for the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU), an independent body enabling conscientious objectors to undertake wartime civilian service. They also served in the Friends Relief Service (FRS), the official relief body of the Religious Society of Friends, which worked at home and in mainland Europe to help civilians in distress.

The vital humanitarian role undertaken by members of both the FAU and the FRS will be remembered by the permanent memorial, which features six texts carved onto four stone benches. The seats are arranged in an open circle.

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