Two events were held in 2014 to commemorate WW1
In 2014 a partnership of Friends of Mill Road Cemetery, The Parochial Burial Grounds Management Committee and the City Council were awarded a Heritage Lottery Grant to help share the History group’s research into the WW1 men buried in or commemorated in the Cemetery.
This research is ongoing. Please see WW1 graves. If you have any information to share with us, please friendsofmillroadcemetery.org.uk

Download the programme for both events
Programme for June 5th and 8th 2014

Thursday June 5th

The main focus was on the performance of Graveside Monologues performed by students from Parkside Federation Academies at the graves of the soldiers they commemorated.

Cast with director, Kay Blayney, Drama Teacher
Cast with director, Kay Blayney, Drama Teacher

The 14 monologues were inspired by the research provided by the FOMRC History Group and written by Kay Blayney, Drama Teacher at Parkside, who also directed the students. Visitors were organised into different tours to help with crowd control. It is estimated that about 130 visitors came to this part of the event.

 

 

 

Admiring the poppies made by Year 4 of St Matthew's School
Admiring the poppies made by Year 4 of St Matthew’s School

 

Whilst waiting for tours visitors were able to look at the giant poppies and their tribute labels which were made by Year 4 students at St Matthew’s Primary School, under the tuition of local artist Annabel Lee, as part of this commemorative project.

 

 

 

After the performances visitors were led to the Salvation Army Community Centre (SACC) for a reception with musical accompaniment from members of the Mawson Road Community Orchestra (MRCO), and an exhibition with the new FOMRC WW1 Banner and a display stand of the history group’s own research, as well as banners of Hidden Stories of the War loaned by Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network (CCAN) . Some 97 people were clicked into the SACC.

Enthusiastic booklet sellers
Enthusiastic booklet sellers

 

A booklet produced by the History Group and funded by HLF was on sale. It tells the stories of some of the men commemorated in the Cemetery. Profits from its sale will go to the restoration fund for this project. Copies may be obtained by emailing friendsofmillroadcemetery@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cast with the Mayor
The cast with the Mayor

The Mayor Councillor Paul Saunders attended the monologues and the reception which was catered by the Salvation Army team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other visitors representing groups with a particular interest were Colin Elsden, regional director of the British Legion, Suzie Spence of the HLF, Neil Ackroyd, acting Head of the Ordnance Survey and several living relatives of the families commemorated. . The Mayor thanked key contributors to the project and the event ended with a lecture from Nick Mansfield, senior lecturer and research fellow at the University of Lancashire who was born and brought up close to Mill Road Cemetery. About 60 people stayed for the lecture which focused on the stories of Nick’s family members and their journey through WW1 whilst putting their lives into a wider context. A resumé and pictures from the lecture is available on www.millroadcemtery.org.uk /Graves/War Graves/First World War.

Comments received for the Thursday event included:
That was such a memorable occasion. I found it very moving on many levels and am sure I was by no means alone in feeling a powerful sense of connection to the men and women of the past lying at our feet. It was a credit to everyone’s hard work. A real community event for all generations. S.B

What a success. The Parkside students were brilliant, the contributions by Ian pitched perfectly for the audience and the sun shone. The talk was very moving too, a model of local research illuminating a bigger story. A.B

This was proper living history. As a former teacher I found it best practice indeed. I.M

Sunday June 8th
Elements of the event were repeated again in the Cemetery to allow a different audience to attend. (particularly the families of the students performing.)

 

Students from Parkside and Coleridge Academy
Students from Parkside and Coleridge Academy

Again the poppies were on display, and again the visitors were grouped into different tours for the monologue performances after a welcome from the Parochial Burial Grounds Management Committee read by Frank Dean.

 

 

 

 

A small exhibition of related material was on display
A small exhibition of related material was on display

 

The exhibition was displayed in gazebos in the centre of the cemetery and there were children’s activities (making poppies/History Hunt).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mawson Road Orchestra
The Mawson Road Orchestra

 

The full MRCO performed a programme of European folk music relevant to the War. It is estimated that 200 plus people attended during the course of the afternoon.

 

 

 

 

Comments received included:
‘This was a fantastic experience: the students were wonderful and I hope they enjoyed the occasion. They really brought the men’s and women’s experiences to life.’ C.H

http://timesonline.typepad.com/dons_life/2014/06/world-war-one-at-mill-road-cemetery.html#more Professor Mary Beard
“A fascinating and well thought out day – thoughtful and also fun, a winning combination.” Joff Whitten, Heritage Lottery Fund:

Commemoration of WW1 – 5 and 8 June 2014