Speech by Lord Mayor of Exeter for Hiroshima Day, 8 August 2015

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
As we face the memorial days, as the Lord Mayor of Exeter, I am honoured to attend this event as part of the international Mayors for Peace movement.

I hope that this significant anniversary will serve as a chance for everyone to remember once again the earnest message of the hibakusha, the surviving victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a Japanese word that literally translates as “explosion-affected people”, that “no one else should ever suffer as we did”, and also renew our commitment to realize a peaceful world free from nuclear weapons.

In these tragedies many died, but many others also lived to see their lives shredded, as their own wounded flesh, fading away slowly, in unbearable suffering from toxic radiation.

I want to honor the memory of these sufferers today and sincerely hope that their innocent sacrifice will serve the cause of peace in our world.

Today, in the arsenals of the nuclear powers, there are bombs which are 20 megatons and more, that is to say that each one has an explosive power more than 1,000 times than that of the Hiroshima bomb.

The future is not written in advance. We cannot penetrate the darkness of our fate. But everything urges us to consider that “nuclear weapons constitute the accepted end of mankind.”

Mankind remains under the effect of a perverse and permanent nuclear blackmail.
We must break free from it.

Everyone has the responsibility to do their part in saving humanity, and not to have to endure the fate that those in Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered, that we are here to commemorate today.

We look forward to the day when every country will be free from nuclear weapons, with all living in peace, prosperity, and tolerance.

That is a future legacy to be proud of full of hope and kindness.

I hope in marking this anniversary today, that from this will come the change I have outlined.

A story generations after us will tell, not with tears of sadness borne out of war or disaster, but tears of joy and hope for humanity from the lesson learned 70 years ago this week.

Devon Faith Response Team training on 4 September

DFRTIf a serious accident, natural disaster or attack were to happen in Devon, Plymouth or Torbay, the members of the Devon Faith Response Team would work alongside the emergency services and other agencies to provide support for victims and their families and loved ones.

The Devon Faiths Response Team (DFRT) holds regular training workshops, with sessions led by various blue light services, HM Coroner and trauma specialists, and contributions from members of the faith communities.

More than 70 volunteers from 7 different churches and 6 other faith and belief traditions have now been trained, but the DFRT continues to look for new volunteers and welcomes enquiries from interested people who are members of local churches and other faith communities.

The next training day will be held on 4 September 2015 at Windsor House, Tavistock Road, Plymouth. If you are interested, please contact Maia Miller on maiamessenger@yahoo.com.

More information

Exeter – City of Sanctuary

City of Sanctuary initiative began in Exeter at our 2012 Interfaith Week celebration. This has been taken up by a group from the university in association with Refugee Support Devon based in Exeter which organised a very informative lecture series earlier in 2015.

More information about the initiative is available from their website
exeter.cityofsanctuary.org and the national organisation at cityofsanctuary.org.

Exeter City of Sanctuary (ECOS)  now seeks to consolidate the goodwill shown and asks that members from various sectors of Exeter life sign the pledge below. Formal support for ECOS is now sought from the various faith groups in the city.

You are invited to draw attention to the pledge in your respective communities and asked that the pledge  be signed by the appropriate authority on behalf of that community, preferably with a realistic suggestion of what practical actions could be taken in realising that pledge.  Pledges from individuals are also welcome.

Please then either email them to Emma at info@exeter.cityofsanctuary.org or post to Exeter City of Sanctuary, Exeter Community Centre, 17 St Davids Hill, Exeter EX4 3RG.

ECOS pledge