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WW 1 Concert

Greetham Great War Concert

It was a remembrance event with a difference. Greetham Village held a concert to remember and honour the sacrifice made by villagers in the Great War. Not only the twelve who lost their lives, but all those forever changed by the experience.

It was a deeply moving performance, staged by a large number of residents with music, readings, singing dancing and sketches which will linger long in the memory of all those who took part.

The difference was that in addition to paying due respect to those that died, it was a joyous celebration of village life. The juxtaposition between the solemnity of the occasion and the joyous community spirit only served to underline the sacrifice that had been made. This was something of which the fallen would have been proud.

The fallen twelve were: Private Henry Bagshaw, Bugler Walter Brown, Private Herbert Carrier, Private Francis Dalby, Private Robert Hack, Private Frederick Holland, Sergeant Robert Kendall, Lance Corporal Edward Mathias, Lance Corporal Robert Mills, Private Ernest Robinson, Chief Petty Officer Charles Throsby, and Private Harry Weston. 

These were out of some 60 villagers who joined the armed services from a village population around that time of about 530.

The venue, St Mary’s Church, was decorated and illuminated to recreate the atmosphere of the war years, thanks to handyman and Set Designer Mark Osborn. The church was filled to capacity for the fortunate people who attended the event.

Greetham has always prided itself on its community spirit and the occasion once more demonstrated this in full measure by the number of residents who contributed to the event. 35 people took part in putting on the concert and there were 160 in the audience.

There were fine performances, too many to list here, but included beautiful singing by Rachel Bermingham, Eleanor Bland, and Emma and Jackie Gauntley, and moving readings by a range of villagers of all ages. The talented musicians of Greetham provided suitable accompaniments.

Representatives of the military who live in Greetham added to the poignancy of the occasion.

An unusual addition to such an occasion was the holding of a raffle. In 1917, there was a fund raising raffle to raise funds for the war effort. There were then some 180 prizes donated. In a recreation of this event, a raffle was held with prizes like those in 1917 - including a pig, a hen and an embroidered cushion.

The finale was a loud explosion and a shower of poppy leaves, as a procession of twelve men representing the fallen exited the stage and walked through a Union Jack draped aisle.

The village is very fortunate to have two historian residents and the driving force and inspiration for the event was Paul Bland. Paul worked very closely with Musical Director Bernie Gamble and Production Director Steve Bertuzzi, and Set Designer Mark Osborn to put on the concert. Thank you, Paul and all involved for giving us something to help us understand and put context around the historic event.

The fund raising from the concert will go towards BLESMA – The Limbless Veterans Association, the Church Roof Fund, and the Greetham Original Drama Project.

The concert was generously sponsored by local businesses James Jones Pallets and Packaging Ltd, Timber, Greetham Valley Hotel Golf and Conference Centre, Gates Garden Centre, Exton Estate, and The Grainstore Brewery.