Belper’s fallen of World War One will be remembered through a website and ceremonies during the coming four years.
A series of commemorative services are planned around the centenary of the outbreak of war in August, including a blessing of the ‘WWI’ poppy field on the Chevin and an outdoor service in the Market Place, around a recreation of the town’s first war memorial, built in 1919.
A working group has been set up to pull together the town’s activities for remembering the centenary of wartime from 2014 until the centenary of the peace celebrations in July, 2019.
The group has made a bid for funding to Belper Town Council to help deliver projects, including the setting up of a website which will tell the stories of the individuals listed on Belper’s War Memorial.
After the war ended in November 1918, a temporary hardwood memorial was created around the monument in Belper Market Place, until the permanent memorial was built in the Memorial Gardens off King Street in 1921.
That original memorial is going to be recreated and used as a focal point for outdoor remembrance services in the Market Place for notable centenaries during the coming four years.The first of these services will during the afternoon on Sunday, August 3, with a further service in St Peter’s Church the following evening, at the exact time of centenary of war being declared on Germany at 11pm on Monday, August4 .
Earlier on the Monday, there will be a blessing made at the WWI poppy field on the Chevin. Later in the year, the planting of an oak tree is planned in the Memorial Gardens on November 11 as part of the BelperNews’ Pennies for Heroes campaign, and a performance event is being prepared for early December.
A commemorative football match is being considered for Christmas, 100 years after soldiers from both sides met in No Man’s Land to play football on Christmas Day.
Adrian Farmer, a member of the working group, is helping to co-ordinate activities for the centenary.
He said: “It would be really helpful if organisations planning an event or wanting to help would get in touch, so events don’t clash and we have a good over-arching view of what’s planned. We want to commemorate this centenary in the appropriate way – respectful to those men who lost their lives, and helping people to understand and learn from such a terrible war, and the impact it had.”
The group’s next meeting is at St John’s Chapel on The Butts, Belper at 7pm on Wednesday,April 30. Contact details for the group are available from Belper Town Council on 01773 822116.