Slideshow: Willingdon honours first world war heroes

More than 60 people attended a tea party held by the Willingdon Branch of the Royal British Legion and Willingdon Residents’ Association to commemorate the centenary of Britain’s entry into World War One.

The event was held at Willingdon Memorial Hall, in Church Street, on Saturday (August 2).



Tea was served to visitors by waitresses dressed in period costume and both organisations provided cakes and raffle prizes.

First World War songs were performed by the Downland Singers, and poems were read by Val Godwin, Secretary of the Willingdon Branch of the Royal British Legion and Fran Pritchett, of Willingdon Residents’ Association.

Val Godwin read ‘In Flanders Fields’ by Doctor John McCrae and Fran Pritchett read ‘We Shall keep the Faith’ by Moina Michael.

At the event James Punchard, Chairman of 1st Willingdon Scouts and Eastbourne District Chairman gave a donation of £100 from the sale of Lest We Forget Memorial Badges which are raising funds for a Scouting Memorial at the National Arboretum.

More than 96,000 badges have been sent out across the UK and the world.

The Willingdon Branch Poppy Appeal for 2013-2014 to date stands at £10,503.89.

Organisers said the money was raised under the direction of Susan Freeman, Poppy Appeal Organiser for the branch, and helpers.

A display of WW1 archives was provided by St Mary the Virgin Church Archivist, Rosalind Hodge, and Willingdon residents provided personal archival material which was also displayed.

The back drop for the stage was painted by Stuart Freeman, who is Chairman of the Willingdon Branch of the Royal British Legion, John Pritchett, Chairman of Willingdon Residents Association, Peter Davey and David Markham.

Following the singing the audience joined in with ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ and ‘Pack up your troubles in your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile.’

Ian White, a member of the Royal British Legion (Willingdon Branch) played a finale on the bagpipes.

A spokesman for the event said: “All in all a very moving afternoon which was appreciated by all who took part in any way.

“A grand total of £500 was raised for the Poppy Appeal, Willingdon Branch of the Royal British Legion.

“The following day (Sunday August 3) a very moving Service of Remembrance took place in St Mary the Virgin Church led by Father Kevin Agnew and Father Michael Maine, held around the memorial in the church.

“Stuart Freeman carried the Union Flag, John Hemmingway the Legion Branch Flag and John Pritchett read the Exhortation to the Fallen ‘We will remember them’.”

Residents were joined by members of the Royal British Legion and Willingdon and Jevington Parish councillors.

Luke Martin played The Last Post and Ian White played the bagpipes as the congregation left the church for refreshments in the church hall.