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West Norfolk church holds special exhibition honouring those who never returned home from the Great War

PUBLISHED: 14:41 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:09 24 October 2018

Mr Richard Parr and Rev Kathleen Kerr collaborated to put exhibition together honouring local men from Gaywood. Photo:Emily Prince

Mr Richard Parr and Rev Kathleen Kerr collaborated to put exhibition together honouring local men from Gaywood. Photo:Emily Prince

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A West Norfolk church has unveiled an exhibition dedicated to the those men from their suburb who never returned.

St Faith’s Church in Gaywood, King’s Lynn, with the help of the Imperial War Museum, have researched into the names engraved on the Gaywood clock war memorial and the role of honour board in the church to tell the local stories of the war.

The church team vicar Rev Kathleen Kerr, deputy church warden Richard Parr and Cpl Matt Allison, from the survival equipment section based at RAF Marham collaborated with local schools, researchers Barbara Wagstaff, Neil Leggett and the Imperial War Museum to bring the exhibition to fruition.

Rev Kerr, 60, said: “The exhibition is important for a number of reasons. It’s important to the community because it’s to honour and remember those from the community who fought and died in the war. It is so important to remember them, to put a face behind the names.

Wall of soldiers who hailed from Gaywood, King's Lynn who didn't come home. Photo: Emily PrinceWall of soldiers who hailed from Gaywood, King's Lynn who didn't come home. Photo: Emily Prince

“They were not aware of the horror that would befall them so we do want to honour and remember their sacrifice and to remember those who came back, often quite traumatised from their experiences. We want to remember those who left behind parents, who lost sons, who lost their loved ones, fiancés and wives who lost husbands.”

The exhibition was originally opened in 2014 to recognise the centenary of the start of the war and it was decided that it would be reopened in 2018 to mark the end.

Mr Parr, 62, said: “We started thinking about the exhibition in 2013 and as a church we agreed we would put it on to mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. We received a lot of help from the Imperial War Museum for our research and the idea was to research as many names as we could on the Gaywood church memorial tower and on our own role of honour board in the church. There has been a lot on interest in the fact that they are local residents of Gaywood who had wives, friends, parents living in Gaywood and obviously some of their relatives had strong connections with Gaywood.”

One of two 'There but no there' transparent seated military figure situated in the pews to symbolise the soliders who never returned. Photo: Emily PrinceOne of two 'There but no there' transparent seated military figure situated in the pews to symbolise the soliders who never returned. Photo: Emily Prince

The exhibition is running until November 10 and open daily from 9am to 12pm, except for Tuesdays and weekends. On Saturday November 10 the church is holding a special vigil from 2pm until 8pm, before the Remembrance Day service on Sunday, November 11.

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