JOIN THE MELTON POPPY WALK
A SALUTE TO THE VILLAGE’S FIRST WORLD WAR MEN & WOMEN
Melton Old Church opens its doors on Sunday, August 5 as part of an ongoing community project, First World War: Then and Now, celebrating the people of the parish during the First World War.
Melton WWI Heritage group, supported by Heritage Lottery Funding, has been researching the history ‘behind the names’ of Melton’s First World War memorial, and exploring the social and community aspects of the period – what was happening at home, and the role of women during a very traumatic time. The group has also been working on a book, which it hopes will be printed in summer 2019, to celebrate the centenary of the soldiers returning home.
As part of the project Melton Old Church Trust has also just finished rehanging its unique collection of 10 First World War grave markers, and restoring the part of the church where the wooden crosses hang. They are now displayed with information about the nine Melton who died.
On Sunday August 5, Melton residents and visitors can see the work that’s been done, and walk a trail that has been developed around Melton called The Poppy Walk. It starts at the War Memorial outside St Andrew’s parish church, Melton, and takes in the surrounding countryside as far as Melton Old Church. There, four artists – Margaret Wyllie, Juliet Lockhart, Barbara Clarke and Jennifer Hall – writer Julie Garton and actress Ann Bryson will be responding to the grave markers and the stories ‘behind the names’ with art installations, a reading of an original piece of text and a performance of the folk song Willie McBride. Tea and homemade cake will be available at the church throughout the afternoon.
Melton Old Church’s grave markers (shown here before rehanging) form one of the largest collections in the country. Nationally important, the collection has been documented by The Imperial War Museum. The crosses were originally used to mark the last resting places of soldiers who had fallen on the battlefields of the First World War, or who were buried close to battlefields. When the war ended many burials in small cemeteries or individual graves were moved to newly established war cemeteries, and the grave markers brought back to the UK. Most have decayed over the years, but the Melton collection has remained intact. The men commemorated are Percy Chandler, Charles Lloyd, A Noel Garrod, Basil Rahere Garrod, Thomas Martin Garrod (all brothers), A Cecil Skoulding, Peter Ungerer, Thomas William Wooley DCM, and William Thomas Woolnough. Basil Rahere Garrod, has two memorials, one a propeller from a WW1 aircraft.
There will be another exhibition over Armistice weekend in November. meltonoldchurch.co.uk