Suffolk village to honour wartime fallen with special performance

Left to right: Cast members Stephen Collins, Di Balham, Amy Robinson, Pauline Squirrell, Hilary Engl

Left to right: Cast members Stephen Collins, Di Balham, Amy Robinson, Pauline Squirrell, Hilary England and Neville Bolton Picture: NICOLA CURRIE - Credit: Archant

The missing names from a Suffolk village’s war memorial will be remembered in a poignant performance next month.

A total of 41 men from Hitcham, near Stowmarket, lost their lives in the First World War – yet only 25 names are listed on the village’s war memorial in the parish church.

It remains an “unresolved mystery” why 16 men are not named on the memorial but villagers wanted to remember all those who lost their lives in the centenary year of the Armistice.

A commemoration in words, music and images, entitled Lest We Forget, has been planned and will be performed by members of the community on Saturday, November 10, at All Saints Church.

The performance will also include poetry written by children’s entertainer Amy Robinson.

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Nicola Currie, who is starring in the performance, said: “It’s one of those things which has been lost in the midst of time.

“There is speculation that the reason they were left off the memorial could be religious, but no-one knows the answer. It’s an unresolved mystery.”

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Mrs Currie said the show, featuring a 12-strong cast, will be both thought provoking and encouraging as it reflects on the impact of war and hope for the future.

Sitting in the audience will be three life-sized silhouette ‘Tommies’, which were gifted to the village by the There but Not There project – which helps to commemorate the fallen.

“We were very pleased to be awarded the silhouettes,” Mrs Currie said. “They are really emotive and a great idea. They will be in the audience to ensure that the men are remembered as more than just a name.

“We’re very fortunate to have a number of people in the village who are experienced actors and singers, and Amy [Robinson] has written some really stunning poetry for the performance.”

Hitcham is also commemorating the 16 unrecorded names through the village’s church bell restoration project after the Sapphire Foundation provided a grant to repair, in their memory, the most badly damaged bell.

The parish is also currently applying for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the restoration of all the bells, which have not been safe to ring full circle for around 100 years.

The one remaining bell will ring at midday on November 11 after the Armistice service.

Tickets for ‘Lest we Forget’ at 7pm on November 10 at All Saints Church, Hitcham, are £10, and includes a buffet supper.

Tickets are available from Nicola Currie on 01449 741265.

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