Thursday, December 1, 2016
We were recently contacted by the Ransom family who had found among some papers this Order of Service dated June 6th, 1948. As you can see, the service was for the unveiling of the War Memorial and the Dedication of the Thanksgiving Organ, and was conducted by the Bishop of Ely, Edward Wynn. The new organ was unlocked by the Lady Huntingfield prior to its dedication and the service was then followed by a recital by Eric Copperwheat FRCO.
This was heady stuff for a small parish church in rural Cambridgeshire! The local paper states that the church was "filled, perhaps as never before in its long history". It certainly seems exceptional that the Bishop should attend, though this may have been due to Lady Huntingfield. She was the widow of George Newton a prominent Tory MP who had been ennobled as Baron Eltisley. He was also a former Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire. Eric Copperwheat was a leading organist who later became organist at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul's, New Zealand.
The War Memorial is the tablet on the west wall of the church which commemorates our two fallen servicemen from World War Two: Private John Hall and Leading Seaman Ronald Mitchell.
The new organ cost over £500, a huge amount 70 years ago. The money came frorm the Thanksgiving Fund which had been set up to give thanks for the safe return of over 20 villagers who had served in various capacities during the war. At the time the fund was still £20 short of its target.
We are very grateful to the Ransom family for taking the trouble to get in touch and even more grateful that they have donated this small but fascinating piece of Eltisley's history to our archive.
What we now have to do, though, is find out what on earth it was doing their family's possession in the first place!