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Lottery grant will help Great Ryburgh to preserve memories of First World War

St, Andrew's Church in Great Ryburgh has been given a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £9,000. At the front in the middle is churchwarden Anne Prentis. Picture: Ian Burt

St, Andrew's Church in Great Ryburgh has been given a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £9,000. At the front in the middle is churchwarden Anne Prentis. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

A village church near Fakenham has been given a £9,000 lottery grant to help preserve the memories and heritage of the people who lived through the First World War.

St Andrew’s Church in Great Ryburgh and its partners were awarded the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Think and Thank project, focusing on the colourful memorial screen which commemorates the fallen of the Great War, and those who returned.

The screen, which was designed and created by Norfolk craftsmen in 1921, will be professionally conserved during the two year period covered by the award.

Information gathered about the families of the men whose names are inscribed on it will later be digitally recorded and made available through the church’s website.

The project also aims to inspire local people to find out more about the villagers of the time and community life during the war years.

Volunteers will collect photographs, press cuttings, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a picture of what life was like.

Churchwarden Anne Prentis said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and to be able to make our unusual round tower church more widely known. The colourful memorial screen helped bring people together after the war and it is our hope that this project will once again provide a focus for the village community.”

Local amateur historian Peter Trent added: “There are people living in this village today who have tales to tell from the past and letters they are pleased to pass on. This is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that recent history can be preserved for future generations.”

Other planned activities include workshops focusing on wartime food and songs, with wartime meals on the menu during Open Churches Week from August 2–10, when the church will host the first of a sequence of commemorative displays and events.

It is hoped that the church’s collection of silk embroidered cards, sent home from the front by soldiers during the First World War, will inspire members of the community to try embroidering some cards of their own.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of the HLF in the East of England, said: “The impact of the First World War was far-reaching – touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond.

“The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £15m in projects, large and small, that are marking this global centenary; with our new small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in Great Ryburgh to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

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