Remembering the Somme at our Festival of Remembrance 2016

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The Trust’s annual Festival of Remembrance on 13th November continued our centenary commemorations of the First World War, with a particular focus on the Battle of the Somme this year.  The first day of the battle, 1st July 1916, was the bloodiest in the history of the British army, when 40,000 men were wounded and almost 20,000 lost their lives. The battle lasted 141 days, during which both sides suffered a total of one milliion casualties.

The Belvedere Concert Band played music ranging from Holst’s Mars, the Bringer of War to Coate’s Dambusters. Janette Cattell sung moving pieces by Handel and Puccini and George Stafford and Bill Cooper gave talented solo performances on accordion and trumpet.Other musicians included the East Wickham Singers, WI Choir and Doug Snow on the organ.

Billy Irving, a talented up-and-coming young actor, gave emotive readings of the actual words of soldiers who were at the Somme, and this added a real poignancy to the afternoon.

Our thanks are extended to local youth organisations 358 Squadron ATC, 1st East Wickham Scouts and St John Ambulance for their help before, during and after the Festival, and to the WI for providing tea and homemade cake for the guests and performers.

The retiring collection raised £1,430 for BLESMA. Thank you!

More photos of guests and those who helped can be viewed here.

Photographs by Helen Redding and Sylvia Scotting.

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