Sunday, November 12, 2017


Taking their bow!  Playwright Dawn Knox (blue dress) with Stephen Metcalfe MP (far right), Basildon Mayor and DOT Production cast plus volunteers and Bob Sheridan and his team
Saturday 11 November was such an appropriate date for the final part of the FORGET NEVER PROJECT - SACRIFICE AND LEGACY which commemorated the centenary of the Great War.  The Woodlands School auditorium at Basildon was packed!

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe started this project in 2014 with support from Basildon Borough Twinning Association and Basildon Borough Heritage Group, alongside a dedicated group of volunteers from the local community and schools in the area. Since it started, the project has reached out and touched thousands of people's lives, not only in Basildon Borough, but also in their twin towns of Heiligenhaus, Germany and Meaux, France.

My fellow SWWJ member Dawn Knox was the author of this highly individual play which saw its fourth performance last night. It has attracted enormous audiences in the above twin towns. Three individual young men are remembered. George Burnett from Wickford in Essex; Albert Kiekert from Heiligenhaus and Louis Vallin from Meaux.  We learned about this trio of militia and their families; their hopes and dreams and we know, from archived letters, that none of them wanted to kill their contemporaries in this 'War to End all Wars'. Alas, the English and German lads died in the trenches; the French boy lived to tell his tale.

The performers from DOT Productions were superbly directed by Andrew Lindfield and the actors: Natalie Scotcher who played the narrator/nurse, Zac Hamilton - George Burnett;  James Le Lacheur - Albert Kiekert; Christopher Walthorne - Louis Vallin and Andrew Linfield the British Sergeant.  The pianist and composer was Senne Jonckers and soloist was Neel Hannes.  They had travelled from Belgium and joined the group Fricklesome Amset consisting of Peter Klaus, Hannes Johannsen, Rike Ullenbaum and Sebastian Zimmermann provided glorious music. The students of  Lee Chapel Primary School and the Woodlands' School choir were the tops. What a superb group of young people and what a wonderful performance! 


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