March 8 2014 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Thursday, January 2, 2014
North Walsham is planning a major weekend of commemorations to mark this year’s centenary of the outbreak of world war one.
Period music, marching, displays, re-enactments, drama, films, memorabilia and research projects are all being planned as part of the two-day event, on September 6 and 7.
Organisers hope to involve all sections of the community and are especially keen to include local youth groups to ensure the horrors of what became known as the Great War are never forgotten, and that future generations learn its lessons.
Activities will all take place in and around the town’s Atrium building, attached to North Walsham High School, on Spenser Avenue.
David Audley, Poppy Appeal organiser for North Walsham and a member of the commemoration weekend steering committee, said the government had approached Royal British Legion branches around the country asking them to organise events marking the centenary of the 1914-1918 war.
“We thought that if we were going to do this in North Walsham, we should do a decent job,” said Mr Audley.
“An awful lot of people made a very big sacrifice for the benefit of all of us and that should never be forgotten, in the hope that it will never happen again. And it’s the youth who can make sure it doesn’t.”
The committee has held one meeting, with another planned for later this month. So far members have agreed to show films about world war one in the Atrium theatre. These could include War Horse and The Blue Max.
A living history group will be present in 1914-1918 uniforms, and Mike Ling, chairman of the North Walsham and District Community Archive Group, has begun researching local men who were honoured for their role in the conflict.
There are also possibilities that a youth drama group could stage a performance, college students may provide music for marching songs, and the air training corps and army cadets could research and mount displays on Zeppelins over Norfolk, and the Norfolk Regiment. Organisers also hope groups including the Scouts, Guides, Brownies, and Salvation Army will take part.
The committee hopes to raise enough in sponsorship to ensure all the events are free to visitors. They estimate that they will need to raise about £1,000 to cover costs.
Mr Audley said they would love to hear from anyone who wanted to get involved with the weekend. Contact Colin Chambers, chairman of North Walsham and District RBL, on 01692 406501.
North Walsham’s war memorial hospital, rebuilt last year, was originally opened in 1924 to honour the first world war dead of North Walsham and its surrounding parishes. Nowhere escaped the tragedy of the conflict which claimed the lives of an estimated 13.5m soldiers worldwide.
■ What are you or your community doing to mark the centenary? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org