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Remembrance 2008 Special Feature

Hethersett's annual Remembrance Service had added meaning this year - not only remembering the 90th anniversary of the end of World War One but also marking the launch of The Hethersett War Memorials 1914-1920 - a 48-page booklet from Hethersett Society featuring men from the village who fell in the Great War.

Below we hope to capture some of the atmosphere of a special day for the village, starting with the two minutes' silence around the war memorial in the grounds of St Remigius.

Every year in parishes, towns and cities throughout the country silence descends for at least two minutes as thousands of people remember the ultimate sacrifice given by those killed in war.

Organisations from throughout the village gathered in the parish church grounds for the act of remembrance led by parish church Reader Duncan Pigg who read out the list of those killed in the two world wars. This was followed by the last post and reveille and the laying of wreaths by the following organisations:

Hethersett Explorer Scouts, Hethersett Scouts, Hethersett Guides, Hethersett Cubs, Hethersett Beavers, Hethersett Brownies, Hethersett Parish Council, Hethersett Parish Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Hethersett Methodist Church, Hethersett Pensioners’ Association and Hethersett Old Hall School.   

Inside the church the service of remembrance was led by  Duncan Pigg with Hethersett Methodist Minister The Rev Derek Grimshaw  delivering the sermon on the importance and symbolism of poppies worn during the remembrance period. 

Two of the hymns featured in the service – “Jesus Lover of My Soul” and “How Bright Those Glorious Spirits Shine” - were sung at the dedication of the village war memorial in the church’s grounds on 11th July, 1920.

Other hymns sung included "Thy Hand O God Has Guided," "O God Our Help in Ages Past" and "Now Thank We All Our God."

Bible readings were by John Head, representing the parish church, and Pauline Cubitt representing the Roman Catholic family. Prayers of Intercession were led by Anne Steward from Hethersett Methodist Church.

Following the service the newly published Hethersett War Memorials booklet was officially launched with a reception including wine and food supplied by Waitrose store of Wymondham.

The 48-page booklet commemorates heroes from Hethersett who died during the First World War and has been put together with the help of grants from the Norfolk Rural Community Council and Hethersett Parish Council. It was researched and written by local historians Bea Ewart and Bob Andrews and brings to life the lives of those featured on the village war memorial who died during the First World War. 

The book also describes the village as it was in 1914 and at the time of the dedication of the war memorial in the grounds of the parish church in 1920. It underlines the sacrifices made by local men, giving biographical details both about them and their service.

Chris Barringer, president of Hethersett Society, reflected on those featured: “It is appropriate to launch the booklet on the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War. It is a very well researched project and many of those featured in its pages will have worshipped in this church,” he said.   

Co author Bea Ewart lost a grandfather in the war and wanted to record for posterity the lives of local men who also died. “The booklet was a collaboration between myself and Bob Andrews and a team of volunteer researchers. It was a very enjoyable thing to do and helps us to realise the ultimate sacrifice these brave people made. There are many tours organised to the battlefields and this all helps to bring home the reality of the conflict,” she added.   

Those present at the launch included 97-year-old Mary Ransley, who grew up during the war and now lives in Hethersett, and Jenny Pigg and Yvonne Thrower whose grandfather Frederick Curson died from the effects of mustard gas and is buried in Rouen. 

A limited number of booklets will be available for sale at £3 from various outlets in the village.

Remembrance Day Gallery (click on the photograph to see larger images)