Hundreds of people attended the World War I Armistice service at St James Episcopal Church in Stonehaven yesterday leaving standing room only and scores having to listen from outside.
During the service, which was led by Andrew Swift the Bishop of Brechin, the newly reinstated church bell rang out for the first time in around 50 years.
The restored bell tolled 207 times – each time to mark the names of the men and women from the coastal town who died during the conflicts.
Reading out the names were six members of the local Army, Navy and RAF cadet groups.
The 230-year-old bell had been “forgotten” about until work started to repair the dry rot in the roof of the church.
The discovery of the 50kg chime was made by a steeplejack during the restoration works and St James’ building convenor, David Fleming, said it was “lucky” that the bell hadn’t fallen through the rotten wood.
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He added: “It’s marvellous to hear it ring. Some members of the congregation do remember it ringing before, but we think that was way back in the early 1970s – we’re not sure.
“We have kept some of the rotten wood frame that had been holding it in place and have it on display in the church – we really were very lucky that we managed to get the bell down before it fell of its own accord and did serious damage.”
The chime rang out again at 12.30pm as part of a UK-wide bell ringing event.
Hundreds more onlookers lined the streets of the town awaiting the ceremonial march from the church to the central Market Square where a salute of honour was held just after 12 noon.
The procession was made up of members of the Stonehaven RNLI, HM Coastguard, Police Scotland along with the Armed forces cadets, the Sea cadets and the RAF cadets. Members of the Stonehaven British Legion Club, veterans and local politicians also joined in as the procession marched behind the Newtonhill Pipe Band.
From there the groups were transported to the war memorial on Black Hill where each group laid poppy wreaths.
North-east MSP Liam Kerr attended on behalf of the Scottish Parliament and said it had been “really poignant” and a “powerful day”. He added: “It shows, just by the sheer number of local people who have turned up to show their respects.
“It is great to see the young cadets getting involved too; as it is important that future generations must never forget.”