Step Short committees have been working extremely hard to bring together a permanent memorial in time for the 100th Anniversary of WW1 on 4th August 2014. We are looking into various activities to make 2014 a year of Remembrance, contemplation and education.
Talks have been held with the Radnor Estate, Shepway District Council and Folkestone Town Council regarding a permanent memorial, near the top of the Road of Remembrance, for which Philip Gearing, spatial designer of Foster Gearing, has come up with a design, which we hope to make public shortly. Other projects are a permanent visitor centre and an exhibition of various aspects of the war, including a film, currently being worked on thanks to the Folkestone Camera Club, which will be held in the Folkestone Library Sassoon room during 2014.
The Beeping Bush Company has produced a 3D film, which includes many aspects of Folkestone’s Commemorative services over the past year such as Canada Day, Armistice, and Step Short’s Annual March, which will take place again this year on Sunday 5th August. Thanks to Shepway District Council we have been able to use the old visitor centre in Tram Road car park, both as information for visitors and the Step Short project headquarters.
Last month four of us visited the Imperial War Museum to meet with the head of projects, who gave us several useful contacts. Step Short are now on their list of projects for the forthcoming centenary. Recently we paid for a road closure of the Road of Remembrance to enable Shepway District Council to cut back all the shrubbery, dead trees and wood so that in two years’ time it would have had a chance to re-grow and look it’s absolute best. We are also working on enhancing it with rosemary, poppies and other flowers.
On 10 April we met Dr Andrew Murrison MP, who has been nominated by the Government to co-ordinate the Governments plans for the National Commemoration of WW1 Projects through 2014 to the armistice four years later. Our meeting started at the Grand and, as we walked down the Leas, local historian Eamonn Rooney pointed out places of interest. Then it was on down the Road of Remembrance to the harbour where approximately 120,000 Belgian refugees landed during that time. We also had 40,000 Canadians and a Chinese work force here. We then went into the Step short visitor centre/office to look at the small exhibition of WW1 artefacts we had set up there. He was fascinated with a game “Stop the War” devised by Adrian Lockwood, Capital Projects Consultant, which we had taken to the Folkestone Academy for the Pupils to play and learn more about WW1. It is our intention to take the game out to other schools.
We hope Dr Murrison was suitably impressed with our project, and found it significant enough to be included in the Government’s National Commemorative Plans for the Centenary. Watch this space!
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