Monday, 12 November 2018

Monday 12 November 2018

What a weekend it was! The centenary of the 1918 Armistice has been our obsession for nigh on 6 months or so.

It was about a year ago that Vince Smith, of the Embsay-with-Eastby Parish Council, invited Embsay Research Group to contribute towards an event he was planning to commemorate the centenary. We pooled our ideas, along with the W.I. and the Embsay Steam Railway group – and over the months the ideas grew and developed, and the “event” got bigger and bigger.

But hopefully all the angst and hard work, and all those late evenings researching and writing (often into the small hours of the next morning) have all been worth it. 
Vince needn’t have worried that no one would turn up – the turnout was wonderful – thank you to all the villagers of Embsay and Eastby for supporting the event. 
visitors to the ERG history display on Saturday 10th 
We had tried to offer something for everyone – a large history display by ERG explored a range of topics, including everything from military casualty figures and animals in war, to the women poets and Lloyd George’s beer.  

Peter Edwards tells the poignant story of his grandfather, who looked after the Belgian Refugees arriving in Folkestone during the war
A series of small cameo performances by members of the ERG, and friends from the village, explored the lives of young women during the war, the Belgian refugees, fashion tips, household hints, the Spanish flu, and the Khaki election of December 1918.  
Jennifer and Sue Stearn dispense fashion and household tips from 1917 and 1918

A hour’s show – to a packed village hall – presented readings from contemporary newspapers and journals, poems, and songs accompanied by a slideshow.  
Peter Edwards reading local newspaper reports on the role played by local Embsay girls for the National Egg Collection during the Great War.
There were re-enactments by Skipton Academy students of soldiers returning to their families and sweethearts at Embsay Railway station, and an afternoon tea party provided by the W.I. and accompanied by entertainment from local villagers. 

The usual morning ceremony was held at the village war memorial on Sunday morning – attended by a very large number of people – and in the evening a special dusk ceremony was held, where children laid down hand-painted pebbles dedicated to the soldiers who died, along with small candles, as a silent slideshow of the men’s names was projected to the side. I think the large number of people who attended found it extraordinarily simple but moving. And the reading of Sassoon’s poem “Aftermath” was particularly apt to close the whole weekend.
Candles and children's hand-painted pebbles laid at dusk, in tribute to the fallen soldiers of Embsay and Eastby in World War One.

There were so many people involved in putting this weekend together, and making it so successful, the list would be too long to put here, but they all deserve huge thanks. 

Jane Lunnon

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