A POIGNANT ceremony has taken place marking the death of a man who, like his father, was killed during the First World War.

A black metal thistle was placed on the railings within Haddington’s Memorial Park in recognition of the efforts of Victor Pitcher last Wednesday, 102 years after he was killed during the conflict.

The thistle was put in place just eight months after an identical ceremony took place in memory of his father William, who died on Christmas Eve 1917.

The touching ceremonies were the idea of Haddington’s community council and have been led by the group’s treasurer John Hamilton.

He was pleased the services had attracted the interest of not only people from the town but also relatives who had since moved from the area.

In total, 130 named thistles – recognising each name on the town’s war memorial – are being placed beside the Ferguson Monument in the park, at the junction of Station Road and Knox Place.

Mr Hamilton said: “[Victor Pitcher’s] was the 84th thistle out of 130. We started on Armistice Day last year and run through this year, this year being the final year of the First World War centenary.

“There have been a few wee stories come out of it, like one last weekend for Michael Gaffney.

“It actually brought together two families who did not know they were related to that soldier.

“They ended up talking in The Bell over a pot of tea, trying to understand how they were connected.”

Services carry on throughout this month, next month and October, with the final thistle being placed in memory of Francis Rennie on Armistice Day, November 11.

Events are being planned throughout Britain for this year’s Armistice Day, which will mark 100 years since the end of the war.

That is likely to include beacons being lit at major towns and cities, with pipers also playing.

Mr Hamilton’s efforts were marked by his fellow community councillors before the summer recess.

Chairwoman Jan Wilson stressed the importance of remembering those who lost their lives in the war.

She said: “I am just so proud that John came up with this idea.

“I think it is such a poignant thing to do with the thistle being the national emblem of Scotland.

“In a small community like Haddington, 100 years ago there was probably not a huge population.

“To think 130 people at least lost their lives, it was a huge sacrifice for a small town.”