emsworth plans to commemorate  D Day


Friday 6 June sees the 70th anniversary of D-Day, an event which arguably changed the history of the world. Mark Ringwood  of WEMSFEST has outlined  plans for a massive Emsworth-based commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D- Day on June 6th.

"Emsworth and other parts of Havant Borough played a vital role in the preparations and the team behind WemFest are determined that this vital  episode in the Second World War does not go unnoticed,"  said the events organiser.


"Few residents realise the extent to which our area was involved in D-Day. "Aside from the thousands of international troops camped and billeted just inland from the coast there were miles of camouflage netting created in Emsworth mills, landing craft and Mulberry Harbours built on Hayling Island, and troops even departed from the quay in Emsworth bound for the Normandy beaches. "


For the past 12 months the WemsFest team has been assembling a financial bid to help the project." The WemsFest team plan to:

• Feature five nights of a specially-written performance in words and music based on how D-Day affected three different Emsworth families.

• Embrace an oral history project with school students to capture the memories of those alive in 1944 and tum this into a DVD which will be shown at selected outl-ets throughout the Borough of Havant, and made publicly available.

• Include the projection of images onto buildings at locations within the borough.

• Dress Emsworth as a World War Two town with sandbags, blast tape on windows, propaganda posters and encourage shopkeepers to dress appropriately.

• Involve Thanks for the Memories, a collage art exhibition in collaboration with Hampshire Library Service and creative writing groups throughout the borough, to be displayed at libraries (and other locations) in Emsworth, Havant, Hayling Island, Horndean, Leigh Park and Waterlooville.

• Showcase a curated exhibition of World War Two memorabilia in Emsworth Community Centre.

• Include a two-week long arts festival majoring on World War Two music, dance and poetry.

• Commission the creation of a 1944 map showing all the notable locations relevant to the D-Day preparations.




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The first stage of Emsworth's 70th Commemoration of D-Day gets underway on Friday 9 May with one of 3 creative writing workshops linked to the 6 exhibitions under the banner of 'Memories Are Made of This'.

At Emsworth railway station the cup-cake and coffee shop 'Carriages' is the location
 for the first free workshop workshop which will focus on the role in which railways and travel in general played during the build-up to D-Day.   Participants are invited to bring and share their own memorabilia from 1944 although additional inspirational material will be available. The workshop runs from 10.30am - 12.30pm

Further workshops are being held in Hollybank Woods, which was the scene where many of the Canadian soldiers were camped and billeted, on Sunday 11 May from 10.30am.  One of the  areas oldest public houses, the Sussex Brewery in Hermitage,  is the scene for another free workshop on Monday 12 May from 7.30pm.
Some of the finished works will be made available to those participating in the collage workshops being held in 6 Hampshire libraries: Emsworth, Havant,
Hayling Island, Horndean, Leigh Park, and Waterlooville, on Saturday 17 May.  The finished works will be displayed in the respective libraries from Saturday 24 May.

This joint initiative has been funded by Hampshire County Council, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Numbers are limited so participants are asked to register via their local library or by phoning 01243 378742 or online at wemsfest@btinternet.com.