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Plaistow Memorial Church launch WW1 centenary project at House of Commons

PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 May 2013 | UPDATED: 11:19 20 May 2013

Development manager Philippa King and clavier player Julia Hancock with the restored World War I bells at the bellfry in Plaistow Memorial Community Church.

Development manager Philippa King and clavier player Julia Hancock with the restored World War I bells at the bellfry in Plaistow Memorial Community Church.

Archant

A church that is home to a unique set of bells honouring fallen soldiers from the First World War was invited to launch a grants scheme at the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Philippa King reads some of the 197 fallen soldiers' names on the Memorial Bell plaque's inscription at the bellfry in Plaistow Memorial Community ChurchPhilippa King reads some of the 197 fallen soldiers' names on the Memorial Bell plaque's inscription at the bellfry in Plaistow Memorial Community Church

Plaistow Memorial Community Church, on Barking Road, houses bells bearing the names of 197 local men who died in the conflict.

This week, manager of the Revealing the Memorial Bells project Philippa King helped to launch a £6m Heritage Lottery Fund grants programme called “First World War: Then and Now” to encourage similar ventures to mark the Centenary of the Great War.

Philippa said: “The bells were put in the church so local people would hear them ring and remember the men who had died in the First World War.

“But the bells had been forgotten up in the belfry, too rusty to be played, too dirty to even read all of the 200 names on them, so the men were forgotten.”

But the £40,800 grant has restored the bells to their former glory, and research about the soldiers is displayed permanently in an exhibition at the church and on a dedicated website www.localheroes.org.

The project has also created a WW1 legacy by training 15 young people to lead tours around the church, while four others have been taught how to play the bells using a clavier or wooden keyboard.

Philippa added: “We get people contact us through the website, saying ‘that’s my grandad or uncle’ and every story is unique, sad, and interesting.”

The Revealing the Memorial Bells project is currently looking to complete their research into all 197 soldiers to tell their stories in an art project with Rosetta Arts Centre in Plaistow.

If you have a Centenary memorial project idea, download an online application pack at www.hlf.org.uk/ThenAndNow, or contact the London Team by emailing London@hlf.org.uk or call 020 7591 6151.


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