North Norfolk salutes the First World War fallen in host of centenary events
PUBLISHED: 12:37 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:10 15 November 2018
Communities across north Norfolk paid tribute to the fallen at the weekend, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice with events ranging from concerts and exhibitions, to bell ringing and beacon-lighting ceremonies.
Haunting ‘Tommy’ silhouettes took up their posts at venues from supermarket foyers, to school playgrounds, with perspex ‘There But Not There’ figures seated on benches in churchyards and parks serving as poignant reminders of the 700,000 British soldiers who failed to return from the conflict.
Displays of stitched, knitted and painted poppies adorned churches, community centres and village halls, while groups ranging from Women’s Institutes, to parish councils got together to organise commemorative projects from art installations, to books, pamphlets and plaques honouring those who lost their lives.
At North Walsham, the town’s War Memorial Hospital was a fitting venue for the first of five services.
The hospital, which was built in 1924 in memory of the 99 local men who died in the First World War, also displayed a replica Red Cross flag as a reminder of the two auxiliary hospitals set up to care for injured soldiers.
Dozens of Scouts, Cubs and Beavers attended a parade and service at West Runton on Sunday, while Stalham townsfolk turned out in force for a service at St Mary’s Church followed by a buffet lunch hosted by Royal British Legion (RBL) members at the Swan pub.
Thanking the staff and pupils of the town’s three schools, as well as local Scouts, Cubs and Brownies, who made poppy displays for the church, Stalham and District RBL secretary and parade marshal Paul McAllister said: “It was wonderful to see so many people of all ages coming together in remembrance and friendship.”
Other events included commemorative projects at Cromer and Sheringham, a display of 4,000 poppies at Walcott Church, the dedication of a memorial plaque at Upper Sheringham village hall and a commemorative booklet produced by Beeston Regis Parish Council to honour the men listed on the village war memorial.
North Norfolk District Council chairman Nicholas Coppack paid tribute to the efforts made by communities all over the area.
He said: “It was very moving and humbling to see how many people got involved; I feel it is so important that we never forget and that we leave a legacy for young people to continue.”
Sheringham centenary project hailed a “resounding” success
A beacon-lighting ceremony at Sheringham’s Leas clifftop gardens marked the culmination of a centenary project including events ranging from talks and exhibitions, to concerts and film screenings.
More than a hundred people attended a commemorative launch of the town lifeboat on Saturday, with crew members casting a wreath into the sea, while a parade of ‘Tribute to the Fallen’ figures were lined up along the North Norfolk Railway platform, before being waved off on the train Holt by actors in First World War costume.
An exhibition at Sheringham Museum entitled Lest We Forget attracted more than 900 visitors, with a book written as part of the project by museum director Tim Groves and town councillor Peter Farley selling hundreds of copies.
Sheringham mayor Madeleine Ashcroft thanked all those who helped organise events, and paid tribute to townsfolk for their “wonderful community spirit”.
She added: “We remembered our own 75 lads and also the 179 who died in Otterndorf and the 100 from Muzillac, our twin towns.”
Cromer pays tribute in “faultless” weekend of events
Thousands of poppy petals cascaded down on a 500-strong congregation at Cromer Parish Church at the weekend, in a service held as part of a series of events organised by the town council to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.
The town’s newly-restored war memorial was unveiled and rededicated on Saturday, while, on Sunday, bagpipe player Jacob Millin piped in the dawn surrounded by a small crowd who turned out at 6am to pay tribute.
A parade headed by the TS Warrior Cadet Band marched to the church for an afternoon service and wreath-laying ceremony on Sunday, with evening events beginning with a torchlit procession and ending with the lighting of a beacon by Cromer mayor David Pritchard and North Norfolk District Council vice chairman Brian Hannah.
Mr Pritchard said the weekend’s events, which also included the unveiling of three blue plaques and a bench dedicated to former mayor Tony Nash, were “faultless” and would stay in local people’s memories for many years to come.