A SOLEMN procession through Basingstoke town centre brought home the true meaning of Easter this morning.

Hundreds of people took part in the annual Walk of Witness, which has become a key feature of the Easter weekend in the borough.

The event, organised by the Alliance of Basingstoke Churches (ABC), brings Christians from across the region together for a procession every year for the Good Friday event.

People gathered at the United Reformed Church in London Street at 9.15 this morning for a short service.

Bob Smith, chair of ABC, welcomed those gathered, telling them: “This is Good Friday. It is a good day because on this day, Jesus laid down his life for us.”

He then lead the crowd in prayers, before readings were made by a street prayer pastor and by Father Mark Hogan, of St Joseph’s Church.

After the singing of two hymns, accompanies by the Salvation Army Band, those assembled began a silent procession down Wote Street.

Led by cross bearers and the band, they made their way through Festival Place and The Malls, with Easter Eggs being handed out to local children, before the group gathered in Castle Square, The Malls.

There were then more songs and a message from Peter Fellows of the Salvation Army before a special performance event by Wessex Christian Fellowship, who provided flash-mob style theatrics.

After a final performance of Amazing Grace and a prayer and benediction by Bob Smith, attendees were invited to St Michael’s Church Cottage for hot cross buns and coffees.

For a full report on today’s Walk of Witness, see next Thursday’s Gazette.