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Armistice Day is remembered at High Chelmer

Poignant tributes and celebration for World War heroes

To mark the 100th anniversary of WW1, High Chelmer Shopping Centre is bringing to life the city’s incredible history through the war, with a free commemorative exhibition.

Taking place on Saturday 10 November, High Chelmer will also be hosting a variety of Remembrance Day-themed activities from 11am until 4pm, including an exhibition in tribute to the women of Essex and how they played an important role in WW1. There will also be a free, children’s poppy making workshop and local performers, The Bombshells will be entertaining the crowds, with a collection of wartime, musical classics.

High Chelmer’s customer service manager, Steve Thomas – who served with the British Army in the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment from 1988-93 – organised for the poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon to be displayed in Central Square. It has proved extremely popular, with shoppers taking the opportunity to have a moment of quiet reflection at the tribute.

Visitors can also view the ‘Dead Man’s Penny’ on high level display in Central Square. These memorial plaques were given to the next of kin of British Empire personnel who lost their lives as a result of WW1.

Mick McDonagh, centre manager at High Chelmer, said: “This year is a particularly poignant anniversary that we are marking, so we wanted to ensure that we honour the fallen and those who helped secure our freedom, with a fitting tribute.

“Our visitors will be able to enjoy a collection of powerful images highlighting the lives of local families in the town during the conflict,” said Mick. “Not only will it offer a snapshot into what it was like to experience the war but also an opportunity for the younger generations of Chelmsford to appreciate this incredibly significant date in our country’s history.

Mick continued: “We also want to add a bit of fun and creativity to the day’s events and what better way to engage the little ones than by helping them make their own poppies? Plus, with music from The Bombshells, the day promises to be a real mix of entertainment and reflection.”

The Royal British Legion has also been at the centre over the last few days offering merchandise including poppies and jewellery in exchange for a small donation, with all proceeds going to the local Poppy Appeal. Harry Hudson – who has been raising money for the appeal for the last 50 years – has been organising the fundraiser at the High Chelmer for many years.
He commented: “This centenary milestone to signify the end of the First World War is a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together to give thanks and remember the brave heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country.
“We are incredibly proud of all the men and women who played a role in the war and fought so valiantly for future generations. We are sure Chelmsford will show its support and help us ensure this legacy lives on.”