Wensum - Legion’s plan to update names on war memorial

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Our war memorial only becomes a focus of attention around the period of remembrance every November.

The same is probably true of all those other small monuments to be found in just about every town and village in the country.

I gathered from a recent town council meeting that the memorial itself is owned by the council with the local branch of the Royal British Legion acting as its custodians. Certainly the two organisations are in harmony when it comes to organising Remembrance Day services and the laying of wreaths.

Outside of that there doesn’t appear to be very much engagement with the memorial although everyone, of course, appreciates its presence and recognises its importance to the community.

Things seem about to change on this front. Two members of the Legion, Colonel David James and Warrant Officer John Boisson, attended a council meeting in January and provided some background to the vision they both share.

This includes welcoming more young people to become members or actively involved with the Fakenham branch and the continuing endeavour to improve the welfare provision for ex-servicemen.

A rather striking initiative concerns the fabric of the war memorial itself. If you have a close look at it, you will find the names of those service personnel who lived locally and gave their lives for their country.

The Legion is now on a mission to update the names by including others who “have died or been killed on operations from January 1, 1948, to the present day from the Fakenham and district area.”

Councillors were very much in favour of this enterprise and hoped it might come to fruition by the summer.

More precisely, there was a general consensus that the goal should be Armed Forces Day which falls during the last week of June.

At the February council meeting, one of the resolutions was to bestow the Freedom of the Town on our branch of the Legion.

I can’t recall anything like this happening here before and it was interesting to listen to the discussion surrounding the idea. Apparently such an honour would be largely ceremonial but I’ve no doubt that it would be highly regarded by all members of our branch.

To cut a long story short, everyone agreed that the freedom should be granted and that the Annual Assembly of the Town meeting on March 25 would be an appropriate forum. Just what will be presented

remains to be seen but

presumably some kind of scroll, perhaps framed, would be fitting. Do come along to the meeting to find out.

I’ve signed up for a survey which PhD students at the University of East Anglia are conducting over the next year. It is aimed at senior citizens and is primarily concerned with healthy eating. There are some weights and measures sessions and I know that on certain weeks a detailed diary has to be kept, recording all the intakes.

That could be interesting. Fakenham is a town considerably favoured for retirement and with that in mind I’ll probably refer to my progress on this project from time to time.

It will certainly be instructive from a personal point of view and could also provide some more general illumination. I hope I enjoy the ride.