Benefice of Holy Innocents, Great Barton and St Peter's, Thurston

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Twice Remembered

1 November 2018

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Have you ever wondered why there are two war memorials in the Parish, both bearing the same names? Except for one, which was added recently to the outside memorial in the churchyard at the request of a relative. This was due to the many differences among residents as to the nature and the siting of any memorial.

The Bishop had suggested that the erection of any memorial should be delayed immediately after the war ended to give families a chance to grieve and think about the manner and style of remembrance. This was noted, and after a year or so, the matter was discussed at both Parochial and Parish level. Several ideas were mooted including a stone pillar, playing fields, village hall and even a public baths. But nothing would happen without funds, so the parish decided to form a committee to consider the provision of a suitable memorial.

They decided to hold a collection and the vicar was asked to do a door-to-door visit throughout the village inviting donations. Unfortunately, he did not manage to carry out the task – for reasons best known to himself. More meetings were held and they became so heated that the committee was dissolved and a new one formed. The main reason for the disagreement was that some parishioners demanded an internal memorial – and others would in no way contribute to anything other than an external one.

In fact, a third committee had to be formed to complete the task, but this was not the only cause of friction in the parish. The election of Church Wardens also caused many harsh words to be uttered and no one was prepared to be a People’s Warden. The vicar insisted he would choose his own Warden and was not prepared to discuss it with anyone! Everyone was asked to calm down and settle their difference...which they did and eventually £100 was raised following canvassing by Maj. Coppinger Hill. A new committee was formed to discuss the siting and design, and £44 was allocated for a stone and £55 for a tablet. Siting the stone on the island at the end of church road near the Vicarage was discounted as it would be difficult to maintain and keep clean, so the present site was agreed to, despite the fact it was necessary to remove an oak tree, planted there by the oldest and youngest person in the village to mark the beginning of a new century.

Our thanks to the late Frank Holmes for giving us permission to share this with our readers