Reading Students honour war children

It was a moving moment for Owen Wesley and Ka Lok Cheung at Westminster Abbey yesterday, as they lay a wreath to remember children traumatised by war.

Against a graphic news backdrop of violent conflict in the Middle East, the boys joined about 40 people, including other students from around the south of England for the first Innocent Victims' Memorial service of its kind in Britain.  The service was led by Canon Jane Hedges from Westminster Abbey and the Vicar of High Wycombe, the Rev Hugh Ellis.

The Innocent Victims' Memorial service was a significant milestone for Reading School governor, Professor Martin Parsons, whose research over 30 years into the impact of war on civilian children has convinced him they are forgotten, invisible victims of conflict.

Prof Parsons, who worked with the Abbey to hold the memorial service, said: 'There is so much evidence of war-related trauma in children that it simply cannot be ignored.  The idea of this service is to make people more aware of the effects that war has on children and to get Parliament and local authorities to adopt November 20 as a War Child Remembrance Day as it is in some other countries.'