"The culmination of three to four years research and a year in the planning ..." These crucial words were spoken after the highpoint of Jackie Scully's [now Lanaway] successful completion of her work for the Forncett History Group's major Great War Project. What greater climax could there have been: a Service of Dedication of the Forncett Book of Remembrance by the Bishop of Norwich in the ancient parish church of St Peter on Remembrance Sunday.
photos by Su Leavesley unless otherwise stated.
(click pic for slideshow)
In the last year work has been particularly intense for Jackie and myself, checking texts and planning the layout and overall design, and the assistance of two other members, Susie Rohde and Graham Prior. Our printer, Mike Dawson at Swallowtail Print, was also understanding and helpful. Various technical issues had to be resolved and numerous drafts before the final version was delivered. We feel the final product has done justice to the men we honour now one hundred years on.
The service of dedication was very well attended and relatives of some of the families of the men commemorated were present to see the poignant images of the men projected on the screen in the church to the evocative strains of Elgar's 'Nimrod'. Adrian Cooke is to be complimented on his skilful handling of the technical presentation. Visuals also enhanced other moments in the service: Nick Champion reading the full poem by Laurence Binyon, 'The Fallen', containing those immortal words: 'They shall not grow old ...', and Graham Prior reading an unpublished poem by a wounded soldier being cared for by his attentive nurse in the American Hospital in Paignton.
Four major bound copies have been produced: one for each church, Forncett St Mary and Forncett St Peter, one for Forncett Archive and one was presented to Bishop Graham. The bound volumes will eventually be housed in display units in the churches, but there will also be reference copies permanently available for visitors to the churches to consult.
The reference (otherwise known as 'handling copies') have been produced in limp binding ; a number of these will be despatched to official bodies and the remainder will be available for purchase - below cost - from the Forncett Archive c/o John Webster [£15 + £2.50 p&p if required] on this website. Order forms are available and if there is a demand a second printing may be arranged. FHG members will have an opportunity to see a copy at the next meeting (19 Nov).
We are most grateful for funding for the project, which has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Norfolk Community Foundation and South Norfolk Council.
A selection of comments from those present at the Dedication Service underlines the impact of the occasion:
Writing as a non-parishioner, the Remembrance Sunday event at Forncett St Peter's was a very moving and wonderful service. Very professionally organised and with nothing announced, the service flowed seamlessly. Personally, I felt very honoured to be a participant.
A very moving service, I felt, with the Bishop using the analogy of the song 'Turn, turn, turn' from the Byrds and the pictures of the Forncett men lost in the war providing particularly memorable moments.
It was a beautiful Service and very poignant from the first toll of the bell to the last Amen.