Holkham Hall set to stage a moving tribute to lives lost in battle

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A poignant concert to be held at Holkham Hall later this summer will be a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War.

In 1914 as war was announced, young Jack Ellicott signed up to join his friends to fight the enemy and defend the country.

A century on, his great nephew and world-renowned lyric tenor will bring those letters to life in a poignant concert at Holkham Hall.

The Lancashire teenager, like so many young men at that time, knew nothing of what would lay ahead. His journey took him to the harsh battlefront of the Somme and his death at an early age. His accounts of the events as they unfolded were retold in the honest and frank letters he wrote to his parents.

The very special musical and literary recital at Holkham on August 4 will commemorate the centenary of World War One as Jack’s great nephew, highly acclaimed tenor Joshua Ellicott, will be reading some of these letters as part of the evening’s programme. He will also perform a selection of carefully chosen songs accompanied by pianist Paul Janes who regularly plays with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jack joined the South Lancashire Regiment, Prince of Wales volunteers and died on August 12 1916 just a few weeks after arriving on the front. The Battle of the Somme was the battle that symbolised the horrors of warfare in World War One and with its horrendous casualty figures epitomised the futility of trench warfare.

Joshua was given the collection of letters by his grandfather, Harry Ellicott and the recital will vividly bring to life in the most personal and moving manner the experiences encountered by so many families during the Great War with their loved ones serving on the front line.

The programme for the concert features songs by Bridge, Finzi, Ireland, Poulenc and others including Haydn Wood’s Roses of Picardy. They have been selected to reflect the direct and stark accounts of a young man thrown into the horrors of warfare during one of the bleakest chapters in history.

The concert is part of a wider day of remembrance which Holkham is holding on August 4 to commemorate Britain joining WW1.

Other events during the day include the lighting of a candle by the local vicar, poetry readings led by Wells Poetry Festival, hymns and singing led by a choir and readings from the period by Wells Historical Society. Full details of the day’s events can be found on the website.

Tickets for the concert, which begins at 7pm, are £18 and include a glass of wine served in The Saloon after the concert and an opportunity to view the exhibition in the Hall, Duty Calls: Holkham 1914-1918. Bookings can be made online at www.holkham.co.uk or by calling the ticket office on 01328 713111.