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Time Capsule burial in Downham Market ensures future generations can learn about the town’s history

Some of the oldest and youngest residents of Downham have helped ensure future generations will know the history of the town, after burying a time capsule together.

Diamond House Care Home and Hillcrest Primary School have buried a time capsule in the care home’s grounds during a ceremony overseen by the town’s mayor, Cllr John Doyle.

The aim is to preserve items which reflect the lives and experiences of Diamond House’s residents, with laminated sheets and photos detailing facts and stories from throughout their lives.

Downham Town’s mayor, Cllr John Doyle helping to bury the time capsule for future generations to discover.
Downham Town’s mayor, Cllr John Doyle helping to bury the time capsule for future generations to discover.

As many of the residents were the same age as the schoolchildren during World War Two, there are also a number of stories about growing up during the conflict.

The children collected information and items which capture a snapshot of life in 2024. Including information about who the Prime Minister is, copies of coins and bank notes, what is in the news, as well as documents which detail their own lives.

Cllr Doyle made a contribution on behalf of the community, with a pamphlet on the history of the town being securely locked away in the watertight container.

Allison Webster, Diamond House activities coordinator, spearheaded the initiative. She said: "This time capsule is more than just a collection of items. It's a bridge between multiple generations. Not just our residents, who have witnessed so much change, and the youngsters of Hillcrest Primary School, who themselves have lived through challenging times – but generations to come, who will be able to learn more about the lives of every day people.”

“We’re delighted that Hillcrest and the Mayor were able to support this initiative. We’ve collected a snapshot of the lives of people alive today in 2024, and it’s been amazing to learn so much more about our residents and their experiences before joining us at Diamond House.”

Diamond House resident, Audrey Elliott, aged 93, said: "One vivid memory that I've shared for the time capsule is the moment when the war ended. I was with my family in our front room, gathered around an old radio. Two army men stood were outside and we turned the radio all the way up so we could hear the announcement too. The feeling was indescribable, we were so relieved that the war was finally over.

“The street parties to celebrate were so much fun with everyone chipping in what they could to make sure everyone could get involved, even though food was still scarce and rationing was still in force. It's moments like these that I hope will give future generations a glimpse into our past and the resilience of our community."

One of the pupil’s said: "It's really cool to think that in many years someone will dig this up and learn about us and our town. I put in a drawing of my family and some facts about my favourite video game."

Cllr Doyle stressed the significance of such initiatives.

He said: "These capsules serve as a window to our times, a way for future generations to understand who we were and the world we lived in. It's heartwarming to see our community come together for such a cause."

The event culminated in a touching moment as both young and old placed their contributions into the capsule, symbolising the passing down of stories and memories.

Staff at the care home said the day “served as a powerful reminder of the enduring connections that bind us all”.

Reporting by Matthew Hill

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