Full house for Great Yarmouth’s Remembrance Festival
Organisers of the Great Yarmouth civic Festival of Remembrance say they are delighted with the success of the event at the town’s Hippodrome Circus on Armistice Day.
The event saw thousands of poppies coming down from the ceiling during the two-minute silence, pictured above. It attracted an almost full house and warm praise from both the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk and the former head of the Army, General Lord Dannatt.
The Festival, which began at St.George’s theatre in 2014 to mark the centenary of the start of World War 1, was staged at the Hippodrome for the first time to commemorate the Armistice. It had a cast of around 70, almost all of whom were young people including the Orchestrate! Project youth orchestra and Norwich Young Voices choir under the direction of founder John Stephens.
Local school children who had helped to make the poppy petals were also there to see them flutter down from the roof as the Hippodrome – often described as East Anglia’s mini Albert Hall – replicated the famous moment of the Royal British Legion Festival at the South Kensington venue, which had been attended by the Queen and other members of the Royal family and seen by millions on BBC the night before.
Speaking at the end of the Great Yarmouth Festival the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, who had also attended the British Legion event in London was full of praise for the standard of the Norfolk version. ‘There is nothing that South Kensington can teach you here’ he said.
Monday night’s BBC Look East opened with excerpts of the Hippodrome event filmed by cameraman and director Tom Mallion. Lord Dannatt, who was appearing live on the programme, told presenter Stuart White : ‘ I think the county and this region in particular has really taken to heart this commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. And those evocative images of the poppies coming down in Great Yarmouth, I think that says it all.’
Many comments have been made on social media, including praise for local actress Judi Daykin, above right, who told the story of the courage and unshakeable Christian faith of Norfolk WW1 heroine Edith Cavell in her final hours before she faced a German firing squad, and 16 year old Scott Ribbons, below, who read some of the WW1 poems and a letter only recently discovered written by a young Yarmouth soldier from the front line.
The Winterton Marine Cadets created the Drum Head altar, so often used by soldiers for services in battle areas; Dance Estelle youngsters including soloists Liam Sherwood and Ellie Lowe provided moving scenes; piper Simon Cater played Battle’s Over to begin the event and Joel Hayes performed the Last Post and Reveille to mark the silence and begin the poppy drop. Mayor’s Chaplain the Rev Albert Cadmore and local Royal British Legion secretary Irene Williams, below, led the Remembrance Service. British Legion standard bearers completed the cast.
The Festival was the idea of Yarmouth Civic Events manager Laura Goodman who said she was so pleased with the way it had all come together, especially involving so many young people. A member of the audience, Dorothy McCabe from Gorleston commented: ‘Congratulations to you and your team for a truly great 'mini-RAH’ festival of Remembrance. With Orchestrate and cadets it felt good for a new generation to be participating and passing the memory baton on to them. Just the right venue and we all felt very much part of it’.
Former Radio Norfolk broadcaster Tony Mallion, who directed and hosted the Festival, said: ‘It was brilliant team work with everyone contributing and working so hard, especially with Estelle Clifton as choreographer and John Stephens as musical director. It came together so well at rehearsal and then performance. It was a long day but a fitting commemoration and celebration. I think it may have been me who dubbed the Hippodrome as a mini Albert Hall some years ago – but on Sunday it truly was!’
Photos are courtesy of David Street, Streetview Marketing.
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