Hexham's Festival of Remembrance 2015
Saturday 7th to Friday 20th November

Hexham’s Festival of Remembrance 2015
Saturday 7th to Friday 20th November


There are a wide range of talks and events forming part of this festival. Unless otherwise indicated all events are free of charge and take place in Hexham Abbey and Priory Buildings.


World War 1 Voices and Choices Exhibition in the Priors Hall


Hexham, Noyon, Metzingen: Three communities remember the individual choices made during World War I and reflect on the decisions we face 100 years later.


Saturday 7th November


Peace Vigil - all welcome 10am - 12 noon in the North Transept


The Vigil is a time for quiet reflection on the tragedy and devastation war causes, and our continuing human struggle to find alternatives to war as a means of resolving conflict.
It consists of a series of readings by representatives of local churches and other groups, interspersed by periods of silence lasting about twenty minutes at a time. Anyone who wishes to is welcome to take part, for just a few minutes or for longer, according to the time available or personal choice.


Hexham Quakers, who organise the event, invite all the local churches and other faith groups to take part, as well as the United Nation Association and Humanists. At the end of the Vigil, with the permission of the Town Council, a wreath of white and red poppies is laid upon Hexham's Cenotaph, to honour the memory of all the members of the armed services who have given their lives, as well as non-combatants, the countless civilian casualties of war, and all those who have witnessed for an end to war, in keeping with the Peace Testimony of the Religious Society of Friends.


Northumberland Archives’ History Fair and talks 10am - 4pm in the Moothall


A history fair encompassing all aspects of Northumberland’s past with history talks between 2.30pm and 4pm focussed on different aspects of WW1.
Part of Northumberland Archives’ HLF funded World War One project, Northumberland at War


Ceremony of Remembrance 10.30am - 12noon: Meet at Hexham Cemetery and visit the memorials at St Mary’s the hospital and the Abbey Grounds.


Within Hexham Cemetery there are buried 45 men and women who lost their lives as a result of their service during one of the two World Wars. On the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday there is a short ceremony of Remembrance at Hexham Cemetery for these men and women. Councillors and local Army and Air Force Cadets lay poppy crosses on each grave of those interred here. At each grave the name, a synopsis of the person’s life and history and their date of death are read out. Then the Poppy cross is placed at the head of the grave. It is an informal ceremony; there is no religious content, it is just to show we do ‘Remember Them’.



A Different Kind of Courage : Corder Catchpool, a WW1 Prisoner of Conscience 4pm talk in the Great Hall: Speaker: Andrew Greaves


Andrew, a member of Hexham Quaker Meeting will talk about the life of his grandfather Corder Catchpool who was a pacifist in World War 1. At the start of the war in 1914, Corder was one of the first to volunteer as an ambulance driver, and he served at the front in that capacity until 1916, when he came home to face a military tribunal. Thereafter Corder was in prison (solitary confinement) until the end of the war. He undertook the study of history and German whilst in prison, because he wished to dedicate the rest of his life to reconciliation between the British and German peoples. As history shows, Corder rightly predicted that the punitive terms of the Versailles treaty would inevitably bring about another war with Germany. Two books of Corder’s letters from prison were published. Corder Catchpool later ran the Quaker Centre in Berlin during the 1930s until obliged to leave in 1936, when it became too dangerous politically to stay there.


Sunday 8th November


Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service From 10.45am


Every year the Hexham Town Council is proud to organize the Remembrance Day Parade and Service of Remembrance to honour the many men and women of Hexham and elsewhere who died in the First World War, in the Second World War and in all the many Wars and Conflicts that have occurred since.


Sounds for Peace - with Johanna Sheehan of SoundTouch 3pm to 4.30pm in the North Transept


Johanna, a former British Army Officer, will be creating a “Sound Lounge for Peace” performing with the continuous resonant sounds of Gongs, Tibetan Singing Bowls, Flute and Vocal Harmonics.  This will be a space for visitors to explore the senses and experience profound resonance, with an opportunity to participate with their own intentional Sound for Peace.  Drop-in event.


red-flagMonday 9th November


Hexham Community Choir Songs of Peace From 7pm in the North Transept: Hexham Community Choir Songs of Peace
followed at 7.30pm by
Red Flag over Bermondsey - The Ada Salter Story Play in the North Transept


Written and performed by Lynn Morris this performance explores both the private and the public lives of Ada Salter from 1909 until 1922, interwoven with her beloved Ira Sankey hymns and her passion for Handel.  Ada Salter was a true radical, campaigner for equal rights, socialist, republican, pacifist, environmentalist, trade union activist and a leading light in the transformation of the Bermondsey slums in the early part of the twentieth century. She and her husband dedicated their lives to the people of Bermondsey, living and working right in the heart of their community-and having to accept the tragic consequences of their choice. Ada broke through the glass ceiling of her time, becoming both the first woman councillor in London and then the first woman mayor.


Tickets £5 from the Parish Office, Cogito Books, the Forum Cinema or on the door. Refreshments will be on sale between the two performances.


unseen-marchFriday 13th November


Members of Veterans for Peace offer some personal reflections on their military service in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere 6pm – 8pm talk and discussion at St Aidan’s.


The talk will be followed by The Unseen March a short film which questions the increasing, and largely unseen, militarisation of schools in Britain, and then there will be opportunity for discussion.


Saturday 14th November


The 1/4th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers in its place. 11am- 12.30pm talk at St Mary’s Centre Speaker:  Alan Grint – author of “The Faith and Fire within”.


The talk will cover the stories of all four Territorial Force battalions that were based in Northumberland at the onset of the war. Featuring prominently the 1/4th Battalion whose headquarters were based in Hexham and the men who served,  it will cover their exploits during their service on the Western Front from April 1915 until three of the four battalions were annihilated during the Blucher offensive of 1918.


England’s Splendid Daughters 2.30- 3.30pm at the Forum Cinema - a play by Jo Alberti of Keswick Peace and Human Rights Group.


‘England’s Splendid Daughters’ was a patriotic description of women who volunteered to serve their country away from the safety of the home front in the First World War.  The three main characters in this play are women who became ambulance drivers close to the Western Front.   Their motivations for doing so differ, and their perspectives on the war and understanding of themselves are altered by their disturbing experiences as ambulance drivers.  The play depicts the way the war had a marked impact on their post-war lives.


Tickets £5 from Forum Cinema www.forumhexham.co.uk  to book online or 01434 601144


Archie’s War 2pm  in Cogito Books: Margi McAllister reading from her book and reading from her book. Age guide 8-11year olds.


Monday 16th November


Subversive Peacemakers 6.30pm talk in the Etheldreda Room. Speaker:  Clive Barrett drawing on his book concerning resistance to World War 1.


100 years ago a bill was being prepared that was enacted early in 1916 deeming all able bodied men of the right age to have joined the armed forces. Thousands disagreed with this: socialists, religious sectarians, . . . even some from the Church of England! This is their story, illustrated by examples from the North East.


The outbreak of the First World War saw an upsurge of patriotism. There was, however, already a strong strand of anti-war sentiment, opposed to the dominant theology of the Establishment. This was partly based on traditional Christian pacifism, but included other religious, social and political influences. Subversive Peacemakers recounts the stories of a strong and increasingly organised opposition to war, from peace groups to poets, from preachers to politicians, from women to working men, all of whom struggled to secure peace in a militarised and fragmenting society. Clive Barrett explores the range of resistance to the war, including that by members of the Church of England. The Revd Dr. Clive Barrett is the County Ecumenical Development Officer and Executive Secretary for West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council (WYEC). He also chairs the Peace Museum Trust and Company in Bradford and is an academic and author.


Thursday 19th November


"Tynedale in the Great War" 7.30pm talk in the North Transept: Speaker: Brian Tilley


Brian will be looking at all aspects of the conflict from a local perspective, including letters from local lads at front, two VC winners, fund raising efforts, turning the Abbey cloisters into allotments, the Gem cinema burning down, the men who marched off to war 24 hours too soon, and had to go home again, the impossible work of the tribunals, and Sammy the fighting terrier and much much more.


The Village Band - songs from the era 8pm at the Tap and Spile.


Throughout the two weeks there will be an exhibition of the work of members of Hexham Art Club inspired by the theme of the exhibition and a World War 1 trail around the Abbey. There will also be two artists ‘in residence’ working in the Abbey during the festival and installations by Tynedale based Drawing Collective: Should I stay or should I go?


The Drawing Collective is a loose association of artists who meet to exchange ideas. The work inside the Abbey is by Penny Grennan and Teresa Toms. Penny’s practice comprises painting, writing, filmmaking, and Teresa, who works in a variety of disciplines, is showing sculpture

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