RESIDENTS braved the wind and rain in Kidderminster to pay their respects to victims of the Holocaust at a special ceremony.

The event took place on Sunday at the Holocaust memorial outside St Mary's and All Saints' Church in the town.

About 75 people attended the service, slightly fewer than last year - mainly due to bad weather. They included members of the public, Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier, Bishop of Worcester Rt Rev Dr John Inge and organiser Fran Oborski, Wyre Forest District Council chairman and Honorary Polish Consul for the West Midlands.

Mrs Oborski said she was "saddened" the Royal British Legion's Kidderminster branch standard was not displayed at the event. Branch president Larry Billingsley said standard bearer Ken Bradley had been ill and unable to attend but added the service was "nothing to do with the military and was a civic event".

Mrs Obosrki told the story of Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski who, from 1942, reported the situation in Poland, including the extermination of Jews, to the British, American and Polish Governments.

After the event she said: "It went extremely well. Considering the weather we had a good turnout. It was pouring down with rain, so some elderly people made probably a very wise decision and did not come but there were more young people than usual."

Other guests included the Mayors of Kidderminster, John Campion, Stourport's Ken Henderson and Bewdley's Linda Candlin, district council chief executive Ian Miller, who read the Holocaust pledge and representatives of Wyre Forest's churches and Polish community.

King Charles I School head boy Matthew Ricketts, 18, laid a white wreath in honour of child victims of the Holocaust and Mrs Oborski read the Jewish Holocaust prayer.

Mr Garnier spoke at the event about the origins of the Holocaust. He told The Shuttle: "It is an important event and I take my hat off to Fran and [late husband] Mike Oborski for taking it upon themselves to do this and Fran for carrying it on.

"I was looking at the history of the Holocaust and how did it happen in the first place. It is right to remember all those who died needlessly and at the hands of persecution. I think it is really important we remind ourselves about what happened because the only way you can learn the lessons of history is to remind yourself.

"There was a time in Germany when the Holocaust started, where the germination of hatred was allowed to start and I think as politicians and community leaders we need to remember ourselves the Holocaust started somehow and we need to be immensely careful as politicians we do not somehow allow a side of hatred to germinate that could lead to something that appalling."