When Harmston resident Robin Dunseath came up with the idea of sending a message of peace around the world to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War little did he realise just how global his idea would become.
His Harmston Ring of Peace project captured the imagination of everyone who heard about it, including Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince Harry. It even came to the attention of the White House and the United Nations, with the small Lincolnshire village at the heart of this momentus occasion.
So, at 7pm on Saturday in a crowded Harmston Memorial Hall, where villlagers came dressed in First World War costume, the message of peace began its ‘journey’ across the world, with the first call being made to Belfast and the messenger in Belfast then relaying the message to Dublin as it made its way around the countries that were involved in the conflict.
The message being relayed was simple and poignant: ‘Honour the past, cherish the present, create the future’. It was chosen by 100 independent judges from around the world from a final shortlist of 20.
Quite remarkably, the judges, who had no notion of who had written the messages or where they were from, chose the one written by Helen Robertson of Harmston.
It was a fitting accolade for the village that was for a small moment in time at the centre of the world’s attention.
The message was relayed to more than 40 countries before, at precisely 10.15pm, as per the original schedule, the telephone rang at Harmston, with Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford KCB CBE ADC relaying the message back to the village to complete the ring of peace.
Reflecting on a truly remarkable event, Robin Dunseath said: “It was simply astonishing. It was a fabulous evening.
“Our ‘ring master’, Stuart Nussey, tracked the ring as it rang around the world. We were able to track the message to 43 countries.
“Then, at 10.45pm our time, one thousand people across the world raised a glass to toast the ring of peace.”
The United Nations was so impressed by the project that a presentation on the Ring of Peace is to be given at the UN on November 19 by the Brazilian messenger.
And a Smartphone film made of the event is to be premiered at the South by Southwest Eco Festival in Austin, Texas today (Wednesday).