A PLAQUE commemorating the eight children who died in a fire at Hereford’s Garrick Theatre has been dedicated in the Lady Arbour of Hereford Cathedral.

A poignant and moving service was held in front of the plaque last Friday morning.

It was attended by relatives of the girls and civic representatives including The High Sheriff of Herefordshire, the Reverend Lady Lisvane, with Lord Lisvane, and the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, Dowager Countess of Darnley.

Led by the Dean of Hereford, the Very Revd. Michael Tavinor, the service featured a reading and poem read by family members.

The terrible tragedy took place at the Garrick Theatre in Widemarsh Street on April 7, 1916 at the end of a concert in which local children were providing entertainment to raise funds for troops at the Front.

As the curtain fell, fire broke out on stage and, as a result, eight little girls died.

The funerals of five of the girls took place at the cathedral on April 13, 1916, 102 years to the day of the dedication.

The plaque marks two years of work from the children’s relatives, who alongside the Dean of Hereford, have fundraised for the permanent memorial with the support of the First World War Committee.

The plaque was cast by Rob Carey, of Carey Lead, who has just completed the re-laying of the lead on the North Aisle and the South Quire Aisle under the First World War Memorial Fund grant aided works.

The Dean commented: “As we commemorate the great sacrifice of those who gave their lives in the First World War, it's right also to remember those who were part of the war in other, perhaps not so high-profile ways.

"We recall the munition workers at Rotherwas and today we have been remembering the little girls who died in 1916 in the tragic fire at the Garrick Theatre.

"It was important that this tragedy received a lasting memorial and I have been very pleased to work with descendants of those little girls to achieve that with the installation of this plaque.

"I hope that visitors may come and see it in the Lady Arbour, as they are visiting the poppy sculpture Weeping Window, just on the other side of the cathedral.”