THIS is the poignant image that visitors to the seafront in Lyme Regis will see etched in the sand at the water’s edge on our main beach on the afternoon of Armistice Day (November 11).
As reported by LymeOnline, the image will be that of a casualty from the First World War and will be simultaneously created on 30 beaches around the UK and just three in the West Country – Weymouth, Lyme and Looe.
It is hope that talented artists at the Woodroffe School will be trained to create the image, designed by a team of sand artists called Sand In Your Eye, and local people will be encouraged to create silhouettes of their own family members who were killed in the First World War, also in the sand.
It is all part of a national initiative, labelled 14-18 NOW, a programme of “extraordinary arts experiences” connecting people with the First World War and part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations of the end of the conflict that took the lives of millions, including 63 men from Lyme Regis.
Acclaimed film director and screen writer Danny Boyle was commissioned to come up with the idea which he has called Pages Of The Sea. Boyle, of course, will be remembered for staging that memorable ceremony for the opening of the 2012 Olympics held in London, three years before he won eight Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.
On November 11 Danny Boyle will walk one of the 30 beaches chosen to display his commission. Who knows, that might be Lyme?
This is a wonderful opportunity for Lyme and the town council wasted no time last Friday after hearing the exciting news that the beach had been chosen as one of the venues to kick-start the arrangements.
I was invited to the meeting as president of the Royal British Legion, along with chairman Ian Marshall, and we pledged our full support on a day when we will be busy honouring the men of Lyme who made the supreme sacrifice and never returned to their home town.
I will be reading out their names from the New Book of Remembrance at the special service in the parish church on the morning of November 11. It sounds simple, reading out a list of names. I knew none of them. But I did grow up knowing their sons and grandchildren and of all the things I have done in public over the years, this is the most emotional.
This year, appropriately for the 100th anniversary, Armistice and Remembrance Day fall on the same date.
I have often written in this column about Lyme punching above its weight when it comes to our profile as a seaside resort. This is yet another example of this.
The brilliant idea is for the image to be created at the water’s edge so when the tide comes in it will gradually was away, a symbolic depiction of how many lives were washed away in what was meant to be the war to end all wars. An occasion not to be missed, I think.
Bloom awards will not cost a penny
ELSEWHERE in on this website you will read that LymeOnline intends to revive the Lyme In Bloom awards.
These ran for many years very successfully and after floating the idea in this column we have decided to go ahead with the awards in 2019 after a really encouraging response.
A number of people have already come forward to offer their services and we are planning to hold a public meeting later this year to form a small committee of interested persons to kick-start the idea.
Out of courtesy I asked for the matter to go before the town council and it got a reasonable, if not wholly enthusiastic support, from councillors which is encouraging.
But I would like to stress that we are not asking the council to finance the awards. I already have sponsorship in place to meet all the prize-money and running costs.
I did mention in my first piece about the idea in this column that it would be good if the Lyme In Bloom awards could encourage an entry in the South West Britain In Bloom competition in future years, pointing out that it could be a big tourist attraction.
This idea was not quite so enthusiastically received by town councillors who thought this could be cost prohibitive. And there was me thinking they had plenty of money.
But the two are not dependant on each other. Making the town more attractive with floral displays won’t cost the public purse a penny.
Harvest homes still thriving
I’M pleased to see that the old Lyme Regis tradition of holding harvest homes is still thriving. When I was growing up a harvest home – an auction of harvest produce – was held in virtually every pub for a different charity.
In those days George Curtis, the father of former mayor Ivor Curtis, was a prime mover. The lots on sale consisted almost entirely of harvest food stuffs – marrows, onions, cheese, jams and pickles.
And the tradition continues to this day with the Nag’s Head, one of the most popular pubs in town for locals, hosting a harvest home for the Christmas Lights fund, raising a fantastic £1,500.
Whilst the bread and cheese-type lots are still popular they don’t go for great amounts and so the range of items on sale have long strayed outside the harvest theme.
In recent years that indomitable duo, Phil Street and Mike Higgs, officiated at dozens of these events, raising thousands of pounds along the way. Today Simon Flux has emerged as the auctioneer of note and does a fantastic job.
The Nag’s Head event was held late afternoon on a Sunday and the pub was packed with eager bidders.
The money raised will help to finance Lyme’s brilliant Christmas illuminations – the best for miles around – which will be switched on at about 5.30pm on Saturday, December 1 after the usual lantern building workshop at the Baptist Church and parade.
A year to remember for the golf club
ALTHOUGH I played a bit as a young man, I am not a golfer. I’m not sure why because I have enjoyed playing most sports and have many friends and colleagues who are addicted to golf.
I took a few lessons from the late Jack Hoare when I first started as a reporter and as I worked on a sports desk which kept me occupied on a Saturday and Sunday, my two days off were a Monday and Tuesday when all my mates were working. So I took up golf and often played early week with Joe O’Donnell and Arthur Larcombe and lingered a little too long at the 19th hole!
Later in my career, whilst working for Independent Newspapers, I did think about taking up the game again. But our boss, Tony O’Reilly, one of the world’s most successful and charismatic businessmen, was interviewed by the Financial Times and was asked how he managed to run HJ Heinz in America and Independent Newspapers in Ireland. He replied: “Because I don’t play golf.” From that day onwards none of his senior executives admitted they were keen golfers.
But I’ve always been a great admirer of Lyme’s beautiful golf course with one of the most spectacular views of any links in the country. And this past year, the club’s 125th anniversary, I’ve been invited to a number events.
That’s probably because the club captain this year has been Lee Caddy, the only locally born player to hold such a position since Linley Baker in 1986, and the only person who has captained both the golf club and the football club.
I first got to know Lee when I was assistant manager at Lyme Regis Football Club and picked him for the Reserves when he was 14. I took him home smelling of beer and his mum, Sally, never forgave me.
Lee went on to win every honour possible for the Seasiders as club captain and succeeded me when I stood down as chairman after ten years.
A natural sportsman, Lee took up golf and I know he was enormously proud to have been elected captain of the golf club in such an important year.
The club invited me to be one of timekeepers when they attempted a world record attempt on the fastest round of golf ever, which was good fun. Lee and his partner Lynnette also invited Jackie and I to a sausage and mash fundraiser for their captain’s charity and I was also privileged to be their guest speaker at the club’s annual dinner.
And then there was last week’s ladies’ night, a crazy event which was packed out and featured a number of black-tie chaps threatening to do the Full Monty. Fortunately they bottled it at the last moment but it was a fitting finale to a memorable year in which Lee and Lynnette have raised a fantastic £21,000 for the Fotuneswell Cancer Trust at Dorchester, a record amount for the golf club.
Lee will be the first to admit that without Lynnette’s entrepreneurial and creative talents that sum would have been a great deal less.