A weekend to remember

Eltisley’s Weekend of Remembrance was certainly a weekend to remember. From the celebratory ‘Street Party’, which harked back to the relief and joy of November 11th 1918, to the lighting of the village beacon and candlelit procession to the Peace Tree, members of the village and their families turned out in force to mark the occasion.

Our Saturday night fund-raising Street Party was a sell-out success. The party atmosphere was set by a welcoming glass of punch and maintained by the ever popular Cambridge University Brass Band with a selection of foot-tapping, flag-waving and sing-along numbers. This was the band’s fourth visit to the village and they were as good as ever. Special mention must go to Rob, a former Music Director of the band, who had to respond to an unexpected request for the Last Post to be played at the end of the evening. Despite being taken completely by surprise Rob took a deep breath – both literally and figuratively – and played it perfectly.

During the interval, giving the band a rest and our audience something to look at as well as to listen to, we were treated to a wonderful exhibition of Lindy Hop dancing by Will and Tara of Cambridge Swing Dance. It was a breathtaking display which left a smile on everyone’s face. If you fancy trying it, and other styles, look at their website. It certainly helped make our evening.

Thanks to ticket sales and the generosity of  donors of raffle prizes the Eltisley History Society finds itself able to face the future with a bit more financial certainty than before!

Sunday morning was crisp and clear in Eltisley as a large group gathered at the Lych Gate at St Pandionia’s Church to greet the Royal British Legionnaires, who placed a wreath, and to join in a brief prayer for those who did not return from war. Later in the morning the church echoed to the sound of a full Memorial Service.

But for many of us the most moving and poignant part of the weekend was the final part. At 7 o’clock some one hundred villagers, their friends and families, gathered on the green for the beacon to be lit. An act that was being performed in a thousand or more other towns and villages throughout the country. As the beacon blazed and the church bell rang sixteen times, sixteen candles and sixteen poppies were carried in procession to the memorial stone at the foot of the Peace Tree, each to be placed as the names of the fallen were called. There were readings and prayers and the playing of the Last Post and, finally, two minutes silence.

Just a few yards away the Cade Pavilion was warm and welcoming and provided sandwiches and cake, and a drink if you wished, and also a display of some of our men’s medals and the village Roll of Honour. A good place to reflect and talk about our Weekend of Remembrance.