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Stained glass window honouring servicemen unveiled after regional daily’s appeal

A fundraising appeal by a regional daily has seen a stained glass window created to commemorate the servicemen and women from the city who served in Afghanistan.

York daily The Press launched the appeal to raise money for a window at All Saints Church in the city, which is set to be unveiled later today.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is set to dedicate the window during a service this afternoon, which is seen as a particular memorial to three York servicemen – Marine David Hart, Lance Bombardier Matthew Hatton and Trooper Ashley David Smith – who died in the conflict.

The Press launched its City Of York Afghanistan Commemorative Appeal in 2011 and more than £17,000 was raised.

York Press window

Perry Austin-Clarke, group editor of Newsquest (Yorkshire), said: “We’re very proud to have been able to make such an important contribution to recognising the sacrifices made in Afghanistan by our servicemen but especially those from York, which has a long tradition as a garrison city.

“I’d like to pay tribute to chief reporter Mike Laycock and former deputy editor Francine Clee who put in a great deal of hard work to make this appeal successful.”

The window has been created at the church by leading stained glass artist Helen Whittaker of Barley Studios in York, who met with the families of the three servicemen while working on the design.

She said: “The main focus of the window is the traditional symbol of peace in the form of a dove, which is also the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

“The three York servicemen are represented as individual stones, proudly displaying their regimental badges, and flying upwards towards the dove and the Heavenly City.

“The yellow colours beneath the stones reminds us of the sun and desert earth of Afghanistan. On the sides of the cobbles are the names and ranks of the three men.”

Readers raised funds for the newspaper’s appeal with a range of events including a cake stall, a sponsored walk, a talent contest and carol concerts.

The Press also organised a pop-up shop in the city centre and held a charity auction.