Saturday 10th November saw the culmination of many months of planning, researching, designing and printing for Welshampton and Lyneal Parish’s tribute to those who had fallen during the First World War. A small team of Parish Council representatives and local residents waited nervously within the Parish Hall to see if anyone would arrive to view the exhibition of profiles on the Gallant 35 and other related information. It was amazing to see the residents outside waiting for the official opening. During the day over 150 people visited the exhibition and many stayed to the end to see the Bonfire Committee’s Tribute in Words and Song. We hope the photos give a flavour of the occasion.
Those attending had amazing stories to tell about their families and there was even an unexpected family reunion! One family, relatives of one of the fallen, came up from Haywards Heath and another family from Norfolk.
The purpose of the exhibition was not just to remember those who had given their lives as part of the Great War, but to announce that work on all the research, of which only a small amount was on display, will soon commence to pull it all together into one book. If you have any additional information please get in touch with the Parish Council. We would hate to miss out any key details.
Our Gallant 35 was the middle day of three days of Remembrance. The Primary School held a Remembrance service on the Friday afternoon and the church was decorated with a marvellous display of poppies and the children’s work. On the Sunday there were services at St Michael and All Angels and St John the Evangelist.
There were so many people who helped make the whole weekend a moving tribute. They helped by generously allowing precious artefacts to be displayed, being part of the magnificent Bonfire Committee’s tribute, preparing and serving refreshments and spending hours setting up and dismantling the exhibition. There are too many to list them individually but the Parish Council and, we’re sure, all Parish residents, thank you. Without all of you, Our Gallant 35 weekend would not have happened.
A Tribute in Words and Song
The Bonfire Committee was honoured to take part in the World War One commemoration of Our Gallant 35 with a tribute in words and music. Parish residents turned out in force to support the afternoon performance which included specially written poems, songs and a performance of music and readings.
North Shropshire poet, Ted Eames, started the performance with a reading of his poem ‘Welshampton, Colemere, Lyneal: Giving a voice to the Dead of World War One’ which had been written specifically for the event.
This was followed by a performance organised by Welshampton Bonfire Committee which had been created by Kate Westgate of Ellesmere. It was based on letters from Kate’s grandfather recounting his harrowing experiences as a soldier in France in World War One. Kate joined the performance as herself and the role of her grandfather was portrayed by Danny Davies of Welshampton.
The letters were interspersed with World War One songs performed by the Welshampton Bonfire Committee choir which included Becky Cooper, Jan Wheat, John and Hilary Evans, Nikki Dawson, Sarah Barnes, Heather Rodenhurst, Mick Higgins, Dawn Edwards and Peter Cartlidge. They were accompanied by Jonathan Layfield of Lyneal.
The performance also included readings of World War One poems by Mary Lewery, Richard Jones, Tony Lewery, John Evans, Mick Higgins, Dawn Edwards and Peter Cartlidge. Bob Richards organised the lighting.
Welshampton resident, Keith Egerton and Ellesmere’s Ruth Clarke followed the performance with readings of poems discovered in notebooks belonging to Keith’s uncle, Gordon Egerton, who died in the war titled ‘Only A Thought About Colemere in Wartime’.
Welshampton singer, 17-year-old Felix Ashley then took to the stage to perform ‘A Place We Called Home’. The lyrics had been written by Heather Rodenhurst, the music composed by John Evans, both of Welshampton, and the musical arrangement had been created by Carly Rose. Carly and John Evans accompanied Felix on flute and melodeon.
The afternoon’s performance closed with the playing of the Last Post by Marie Haydon, and a minute’s silence.
A Tribute in Words & Song
with thanks to Bob Richards for the video