Christleton Village History Group Great War Voices “War Stories – Remembering our Forgotten Heroes”

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 Christleton Local History Group and partners from Christleton High School & the local Community has just received a grant for £9,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a community education project to explore the history and experiences of the men and women who died, and those who survived the First World War, from Christleton and the neighbouring townships of Littleton, Rowton, Cotton Abbotts and Cotton Edmunds. 

The project team and volunteers intend to research the stories of soldiers, and the way the Parish Community supported their efforts, and produce a range of educational activities to commemorate the Great War 1914-18. The Community has gathered together each Remembrance Day at a Church Service and at the War Memorial to hear the names of the fallen, but very little is known about these individuals who selflessly sacrificed their lives during the Great War. We want to know who these people were, where they lived, and what part they played in village life before they went to fight. We also want to explore what they did in the war, and where they died and are commemorated, so villagers of today, especially our young people can respect their memory. We want to put faces to names where possible, and tell the stories of these brave forgotten people. 

Our object is to inspire school children and the wider community, in researching the contribution local people made during the First World War. We hope to develop new skills, enhance interest in & foster understanding of the villages unique heritage during the war period for future generations to enjoy and cherish. 

To mark the Centenary of the First World War we will collaborate with village organisations and individuals to collect photographs, personal accounts and letters to help build up a clear picture of what life was really like. With the help of professional writers, designers and film makers the new information will be incorporated into a Commemorative Book and Village Archive which will be made available on the Village Website www.christleton.org.uk Overall this comprehensive archive will allow the community and in particular the Primary & High Schools to share and learn more about their heritage during the First World War in an interactive way. The Group will also be working with, and supported by, The Cheshire Military Museum, County Record Office & Chester Heritage Centre. 

Commenting on the award, the Group’s leader and historian David Cummings said “ We are absolutely delighted that our bid has been successful and thrilled to receive the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund” 

The War Stories Book, videos and community activities will commemorate the lives of the soldiers from Christleton and the sacrifice that they and their families made in the Great War. In many cases we will be unearthing information about their contribution and bravery which has been lost or forgotten for nearly one hundred years. 

Christleton Local History Group has done much to enhance the knowledge of history of the Parish since its formation in 1976. It has published two very successful history books, village trails, a Village DVD and has amassed a huge collection of photographs, the earliest dating from 1865. We also contribute to Village life by arranging six lectures of historical interest each winter at the Primary School, and have raised a considerable amount for charity through sales of our books, DVD’s and Postcards. 

We are delighted to have this opportunity to do justice to the memory of the past. This wonderful lottery grant will enable us to pass on everything we have learned about the people of the five townships one hundred years ago, to the community of today.

Project Coordinator, Phil Hirst said “The project will make a tremendous difference to everyone’s understanding of how the Great War affected Christleton. The work of our volunteers will leave a lasting legacy long after the Centenary of the First World War, for all to experience and reflect upon.” Our objective is to enhance understanding of the villages unique heritage during this period, and encourage the wider community to contribute to the ongoing research. This will be through the gathering of personal accounts, diaries, photographs, and memorabilia.

A spokesman for the Heritage Lottery Fund has said, “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond.

Since 1994 The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £647 million to more than 3,700 projects across the North West. Projects large and small- that are now marking this global Centenary; with our new small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in Christleton Villages History; ‘War Stories- Remembering our Forgotten Heroes’ to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world” 

The Project will start publicly with a small exhibition at Christleton Village Fete, followed shortly afterwards by an Official Launch on July 12th at the Village Show at the Parish Hall. Filming and other activities will start almost immediately at Christleton High School, and St James Church. 

If anyone in the community would like to get involved in the project, or has any information, stories or old photographs about the First World War they would like to share please could they contact the project team on; 

David Cummings 01244 332410           e mail; cummings.d@uwclub.net 

Phil Hirst Project co-ordinator. 07983 614567 e mail; philhirst@aol.com 

Web site; www.christleton.org.uk

 

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