War is Announced: Thetford shown how the news of First World War was broken
PUBLISHED: 10:38 05 August 2014
“At the Burrell works and about the town there was rumour and talk of war.”
The story of how Thetford learned of the beginning of the First World War was brought to life on Monday night at a dramatic community event.
Performers from the Thetford Players and Thetford Methodist Players turned back time exactly 100 years to relive the moment the town was told that war had been declared on Germany.
Backed by the Guildhall, the voice of Mike Wabe, town crier, boomed over the market square to inform people that hostilities had begun.
The crowd of more than 200 watched on as actors recreated the recruitment of Thetfordian troops and their being waved off to war.
The crowd then sang along to It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, backed by the Bridgham and Harling band.
The event was organised over the last year by Thetford Christians Together and Thetford Town Council.
It closed after a “tableau of hope” was created, with a host of groups from the town going forward, including the Thetford Society, Dad’s Army Museum, Amnesty International, Royal British Legion, Charles Burrell Museum, Ford Place, Fulmerston Christian Centre and Norfolk Fire Service.
Rev Ken Nicholls, from Thetford Christians Together, said the event was a chance not only to remember the sacrifices of troops in the First World War, but also to recognise the hope for a better future.
“There are so few events where we get the town to concentrate on one thing and there are so many disparate groups out there. This helps make people aware of what they are doing and just how many volunteers there are here, without whom there would be very little,” he said.
The event was given £2,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but spent less than half due to volunteer offers of help, according to Rev Nicholls.