Pot of cash will help Norfolk commemorate the First World War

British Troops in France going 'up the line' to their trenches in the 1914-1918 First World War.

British Troops in France going 'up the line' to their trenches in the 1914-1918 First World War. - Credit: PA

Communities across Norfolk have been urged to apply for a share of £10,000 to help honour the thousands who were prepared to sacrifice their lives in the First World War – and the families they left behind.

The EDP is urging non-profit groups across the county to use the fund, from The Norfolk Armed Forces Community Covenant Board, to find fitting ways of commemorating the centenary of the Great War.

The fund will be administered by the Norfolk Community Foundation and will allow communities across Norfolk to apply for up to £500 at a time to commemorate the war.

Military historian and Broadland MP Keith Simpson threw his weight behind the campaign.

He said: 'I think this is a really excellent and generous initiative and it links the contributions made by many men and women 100 years ago to the contributions that have been made more recently by members of the armed forces and their families in Iraq and Afghanistan.'

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He said the conflict resonated strongly with people 100 years on, not only because of the sacrifice and huge national effort, but because of the artefacts which speak to us across the generations.

He said: 'We had a literate society that wrote diaries and letters, so we have got very vivid memorials, and when you read the letters and when you see the photos, apart from the fact their clothes are different, they look very much like us.'

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Any non-profit group is able to apply for a share of the pot of cash, including constituted voluntary and community groups, parish and town councils, charities, churches, social enterprises, community interest companies and schools.

The fund is available for a wide range of projects, which may include community events and projects, educational activities, new memorials and the refurbishment of existing memorials.

Tony Tomkinson, Norfolk's armed forces commissioner, said: 'During this commemoration period it is important we all work together to honour those who served and to remember those who died in the First World War.

'This project vitally ensures that those who lost their lives in the war will never be forgotten and will remain a legacy amongst our communities.'

It is expected that the fund will renew each year for four years, covering the four-year duration of the First World War. Groups should only expect to receive one grant during the lifetime of the fund.

Graham Tuttle, chief executive of the Norfolk Community Foundation, said: 'We would like to encourage all members of the community to get involved and take advantage of this fantastic input of funding. We would particularly like to welcome projects which aim to involve the whole community so that together we can conserve and share local heritage of the First World War.'

Ralph Gayton, president of the Norwich branch of the Royal British Legion, agreed that it was vital that the war was commemorated.

He said: 'The First World War changed the world in very many ways. The scale of deaths on the battlefield was unprecedented. War had become industrialised.

'The impact on people at home was massive. With men away fighting, that created a new home front, with women playing a greater role in industry and agriculture. Very few people were unaffected by the war.'

He said it was important that the sacrifices were not forgotten.

The fund cannot be used to support trips or visits and grants must be spent within 12 months of being awarded.

Applications can be made now, with the deadline for applications on Friday, May 2. Decisions will be made in June. Visit http://www.norfolkfoundation.com/Norfolk-WW1-Fund.htm for an application form.

Do you have a story about the First World War? Email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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