On Remembrance Sunday, 11 November, residents of four Kennet Valley villages – Fyfield, Lockeridge, West Overton and East Kennett will meet at the Kennet Valley Hall in Lockeridge to honour those who fell in the Great War. The fallen will be remembered by the dedication of a copse of trees planted in their memory and marked by the unveiling of a plaque.
The dediication ceremony will be led by the Reverend Maria Shepherdson, Parish Council Chairman Nick Fisk, Leslie Jenkinson, Chairman of the neighbouring East Kennett Parish Meeting and the schoolchildren from the villages of the valley.
The trees will be dedicated in a short ceremony, the plaque will be unveiled and the names of those from the Kennet Valley who fell in the Great War will be read out followed by the sound of the Last Post and a Blessing. Then back to the Kennet Valley hall for tea prepared by the Friends of the Kennet Valley School, serenaded by the school’s children who will sing WW1 songs and recite poems they have created specially for the occasion.
Mary Spender, who organised for dedication ceremony for the parish explains how the idea of the specially created copse arose: ”We were beginning to think how we could this year specially commemorate 100 years since the end of the war, perhaps by including some part of those services held beside the newly erected memorials. It was at this stage that we heard about the 10,000 trees from the Woodland Trust being given to Wiltshire Council to commemorate the 10,000 men from Wiltshire who served in the Great War. A copse of trees, therefore, with a dedication ceremony just as happened all those years ago, seemed exactly the right thing to do.”
“In my recent research into how our villagers set up our war memorials, I discovered that our Parish, just as others all over the country, were discussing how to honour their fallen, even before the end of the war. War memorials sprung up in every village, and we were no exception – so that now we have a lychgate in Fyfield, a stone cross in West Overton, and a plaque in the church in East Kennett. For each memorial, a service of dedication was held – which acted as a funeral service, since the dead were all buried where they fell, in France or elsewhere, and not brought home.” she added.