Commemoration project awarded lottery funding

Alan Fidler who has won a national tourism award.
Alan Fidler who has won a national tourism award.

THE project to research and record the story of the almost 1,700 local men who were killed or died in the First World War has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.

The Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project, founded in 2011, has ambitious plans to raise awareness amongst the community and engage people of all ages in understanding the social and economic impact of the Great War on the former borough of Tynemouth.

And its work has now been given a major boost with the award of £48,700 from the HLF.

Working from a printed Roll of Honour produced in 1923, which included only brief details of almost 1,700 local men killed in the war, the group intends to research, publish and make accessible the best possible record of the lives and service of these men.

The HLF funding will secure the project in its workroom in the Linskill and North Tyneside Community Development project’s premises in North Shields through to 2014.

A delighted project co-ordinator Alan Fidler said: “This support will allow us to develop a number of activities around the project, which has received strong support already from the local press, and encouragement at all levels within North Tyneside Council and the local community since setting out its aims over a year ago.

“The project aims to be  truly inclusive and will have activities which will involve schoolchildren and youth organisations working with older members of the population to ensure that the sacrifice and losses within many of their families – almost 100 years ago – are not forgotten.

“We will now be able to offer opportunities for local residents to get involved and acquire a number of skills which will stimulate and encourage long-term interest in learning about and preserving the rich history and culture of our coastal and riverside community.”

Ivor Crowther, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund north east, said: “It’s so important, especially in the run up to the centenary of the First World War, that the stories of those who lost their lives in the conflict are not forgotten.”

The project’s aims

The development of a user-friendly accessible database to allow the public to see the history and service of the local men who died in the war;

Provision of tuition for local residents in aspects of family history research;

Development of skills in gathering oral history in conjunction with the lottery funded project ‘Remembering the Past – Resourcing the Future’, which is run from North Shields library;

Supporting the writing and production of a play dealing with a highly controversial aspect of the history of the war – execution for military offences – to be done in conjunction with local schools;

Working in schools to allow children to explore the impact of the war on their community and the streets nearby to their own school;

Working with youth and other community organisations to raise awareness of the effects of the war;

Producing a series of small scale exhibitions leading up to August 2014 – the anniversary of the outbreak of the war – which will tour venues in the wider borough of North Tyneside;

A large exhibition in 2014 to mark the culmination of the project and a public event in the town to celebrate the conclusion of the project volunteers’ efforts; and to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the war.