On Saturday the 9th July, 2016, an open day was held in Wickford Memorial Park to commemorate those that gave their lives in the 12 battles of The Somme.
It was absolutely fabulous. It went perfectly. Lots of WW1 exhibits, including a medical clearing station, doctor’s tent, farrier, The Women’s Yeomanry and signallers, all had tents and stands on show. The Battle Bus was there, a few days earlier it had been exhibited at The Somme and had just arrived back in England. There were also some of the cars that had been converted into ambulances.
In the marquee there were stationary exhibits of uniforms, armaments and lots to read and many photos of the war. We were entertained by two lady singers and Steve Newman (without whose organisation there would have been no show) gave a talk on the Wickford Heroes that gave their lives in the battles for the Somme. Our thanks go to him and Basildon Council and the background team that made the day perfect.
I was there with the Basildon Heritage stall and we had over 500 visitors (that I managed to count) to our stall, and I was able to spend time talking to them, some of whom I recognised, others that showed real interest, and youngsters who asked a lot of questions.
There could have been upwards of 2000 visitors in the park, and as a free afternoon of entertainment it was enjoyed by all.
Traffic was not the problem we envisaged; most people were local and had left their cars at home.