TO honour the 63 men of Lyme who fell during the First World War, the Lyme Regis branch of the Royal British Legion is reviving its Festival of Remembrance.
The festival was an important part of the Legion’s fundraising for the Poppy Appeal throughout the 1990s and 2000s and members have decided to stage the event again for this year only to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.
The festival will be held on Sunday, October 28 in the Woodmead Halls with doors opening at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.
The Legion in Lyme has constantly punched above its weight as one of the smaller branches in Dorset when it comes to fundraising for the Earl Haig Poppy Fund, consistently raising £5,000 and more every year.
This year is likely to be an all-time record with the branch about to receive a cheque for £5,000, half of the proceeds from the recent Candles On The Cobb event, organised by the Rotary Club of Lyme Regis. Rotarians will be attending the Festival of Remembrance to present the cheque to the branch president, Philip Evans MBE.
Members of the Royal British Legion supported the spectacular event which illuminated the Cobb with 5,000 candles, every one bought in memory of a loved one, by building a giant poppy on the beach in honour of all those from Lyme Regis who made the supreme sacrifice during the First World War.
This year’s Poppy Appeal in Lyme has also been boosted by a number of other events, including a sponsored sky dive by Legion stalwart Ania Driver and a fun run and fun day at Lyme Regis Football Club.
The Festival of Remembrance on Sunday, October 28 will feature Lyme Regis Town Band, who will present a selection of appropriate music, including a medley of First World War sing-along numbers, together with readings and musical contributions. Lyme’s Harbour Voices choir will be singing two numbers, as will popular local performer Harvey Causley.
There will be readings also by Alexandra Wood, who wrote a short poem inspired by the sight of the giant poppy display at Candles On The Cobb, and local poet and author David Ruffle who has written a special poem for the occasion called ‘It’s Over, Peace at Last’.
The first half programme of music and words will also feature Scottish piper Scott Graham and two Legion members, standard bearer Jon Hunt and Daniel Buckley, will make a short presentation on their participation in the recent Great Pilgrimage in Belgium, which commemorated then 90th anniversary of a similar event held ten years after the end of World War One.
The second half of the programme will be dedicated to a service of remembrance conducted by the Reverend Rosemary Bragg.
A new book of Remembrance containing the names, rank and regiment of all those from Lyme Regis who died in both world wars, donated by Legion members Vernon Rattenbury and David Humphrey, with calligraphy by David Austin, will be presented to principal guest, the Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Michaela Ellis.
Mr Rattenbury and Mr Humphrey, who both served in the Royal Navy, carried out the research into all those who lost their lives in the two world wars, which has resulted in a number of additions, together with rank and regiment, to the rededicated war memorial in George’s Square.
Councillor Ellis will hand the Book of Remembrance to WO1 Mike Durant who will form part of the team who will build the Drumhead, as part of the service, which also includes Jon Hunt, Daniel Buckley and Kevin Taylor, the Legion’s parade marshal.
The exhortation will be delivered by Philip Evans MBE, and during the two minute’s silence poppies will fall from the ceiling.
The evening will conclude with Helen Webber, a member of Lyme Regis Musical Theatre, singing ‘I Vow To The My Country’ and a rousing rendition of ‘Land of Hope And Glory’. The event will be compered by Philip Evans MBE, who officiated at all but one of the festivals throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
Tickets costing £8 are available from Serendip Bookshop in Broad Street, or from Legion members, on the door or by calling LymeOnline on 01297 442781. The bar will be open at the Woodmead Halls and teas and coffees will be served during the interval. There will also be a raffle.
Legion chairman Ian Marshall said: “We hope the Festival of Remembrance will be well supported by the people of Lyme Regis. “It promises to be a very entertaining evening and an excellent fundraiser for the Poppy Appeal.”