Long awaited and simply spectacular – Malpas 100 Years On Weekend has been an overwhelming success. Honouring Malpas soldiers, demonstrating hardship suffered and sharing a very special occasion to commemorate the First World War with a poignant glimpse into the past.
Malpas stepped up and everyone turned out for the village One Hundred Year Commemoration. In a moving and heartfelt parade, “WW1” attired young officers on horseback, Malpas Flower Club, Malpas Scouts, Air Training Corps (ATC), Malpas Alport School, Malpas Ladies Choir, Malpas Fire and Rescue Service and many more marched proudly through the village to pay their respects.
“Spirits lifted in respect for those who went before us. All ages coming together to share our history – This weekend has really put Malpas on the map,” commented one Malpas resident.
On the Recreation Ground, The Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Mr David Briggs, MBE, K St J. addressed the gathering who stood silently remembering those who lost their lives during The Great War. Mr Briggs was given a guided tour through the “Representative Trench Network” which had been carefully constructed for the weekend by dedicated members of Malpas 100 Years-On Committee.
Pre-booked and anticipated military-style training activities for children then got underway. Youngsters worked hard to drill and undergo physical training. Parents watched on to see turned-up noses and disbelieving faces as the children sampled WW1 style cooking and tried to guide a partner blind-folded to replicate the difficulties of gas in wartime. Amazed at military style equipment and war costume the groups were taken back in time as they followed each other around representative trench network – over duck-boards and under soil tunnels.
Overwhelmed by the size and beauty of 1000 Poppy Festival in St Oswald’s Church visitors from inside and outside the village also packed in to see the displays of military artefacts and village life in the High-Street Church. An outstanding choral of the “Armed Man” and four drama shows of “The Way We Were” were completely sold out over the weekend as audiences applauded a well prepared and professional tribute to The Great War in Malpas village. Social media mania prevailed.
Congregation queued at the door to join St Oswald’s Church Remembrance Service on Sunday morning and wreaths were laid. A well-attended evening Vigil Reflection Service in Words and Music in Church concluded with a rousing singalong “It’s a long way to Tipperary” to end a very memorable weekend. After the service, churchgoers joined beneath Castle Hill as the Village Beacon was lit with others across the nation and the bells pealed out.
The 1000 Poppies Festival will remain open for two weeks after the Commemoration Weekend.