Holocaust Memorial Day was commemorated in Hoddesdon with beautiful singing and readings from local schoolchildren and a message of hope.

People gathered by the Holocaust Memorial in the gardens of Lowewood Museum on Friday 27 January for the Borough of Broxbourne ceremony.

Those gathered asked the question 'How Can Life Go On?' after the horrors of the Holocaust, in which around six million Jews were murdered and millions more suffered, and genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

The Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, the Countess of Verulam, was in attendance alongside Broxbourne's MP Charles Walker, the Mayor Councillor Martin Greensmyth, Leader of Broxbourne Council Councillor Mark Mills-Bishop, the Reverend Canon John Williams, Peter Headington who gave an address, and many more luminaries and residents.

Broxbourne Council’s Leader led the ceremony and said: “Holocaust Memorial Day invites us to pause and reflect on the tragedy of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, it acts as a reminder to work together to make sure we do our utmost to prevent such genocides ever taking place again.”

Candles were lit by the Lord Lieutenant and Councillor Paul Seeby and flowers were laid by schoolchildren from St Catherine’s C of E Primary School before a rendition of Pie Jesu as a duet and a solo a cappella performance of Amazing Grace by pupils of The Robert Barclay Academy.

Powerful readings of testimony from survivors and rescuers of the Holocaust, and an extract from the Diary of Anne Frank, were given by schoolchildren.

Afterwards, stones were placed by the memorial; a Jewish custom that shows someone has visited a grave. Shoes donated by the Lord Lieutenant and others were piled up by the Memorial to poignantly symbolise the loss of life in the Holocaust and they will be donated to Oxfam.

The event’s date of 27 January was chosen as it is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union in 1945.