Welcome to our three-monthly edition and I hope it finds you all well. In spite of all the difficulties the last three months has been the busiest we have known for the past two years. Although travel has still been restricted, we have still managed to maintain links across the sea with our dear friends in Heiligenhaus and Meaux. We are so looking forward to resuming our regular exchanges in 2022 and planning is well underway. We still have activities to go in 2021 and more about that at the end.
1st July – The Memorial to The Battle of The Somme
We have an “Empty Chair” at Lochnagar Crater on The Somme and on 1st July there is a ceremony to commemorate the starting of the Battle of The Somme on that date in 1916. The crater was made when a series of explosive deviscs placed by tunnellers was detonated. The site is now a World Peace Site. We had begun to visit the site and our chair prior to Covid restrictions but obviously we have not been able to travel. This year our dear friends from Meaux went to the ceremony to represent us. They met the British
Throughout the pandemic, our chair has been cared for by Alison and John, the English owners of The Old Blighty Tea Rooms in the village of La Boisselle at the bottom of the hill where the crater is situated. We have thanked them for their care and attention.
The pandemic has taken its toll, not just on people but on structures too. The walkway around the crater has suffered serious damage and deterioration and the Friends of Lochnagar put out an appeal for help with the restoration. We ran a funding page with Just Giving. With the help of our members and those from Heiligenhaus and Meaux we raised £400. Richard Dunning, the owner of the site is so grateful and wrote to us to thank us for our generous support. We all hope to be able to meet up again very soon at our “Empty Chair”.
Although we were not able to get to France, we have our own replica Empty Chair in Wat Tyler Park, Pitsea and or the past two years we have performed our own ceremony there.
Luke is about to join The Royal Marines and we all wish him well. He has given sterling service to Basildon Twinning. He has promised to keep in touch.
International Day of Peace 2020
No don’t adjust your eyes. We play a peace game every year on September 21st. The game of 2020 was postponed. The same group of boys from Beauchamps High School and Woodlands School have played in the game since 2017 when they were in Year 8. We couldn’t let them leave school in July without giving them the opportunity to play the postponed game, so it was re-arranged for the week before they broke up from school for the final time. Councillor Kevin Blake refereed the match and the Mayor David Burton-Sampson attended in one of his final acts as Mayor of the Borough. The themes chosen for the match were the FA’s “Kick it Out” campaign and “Remembering Srebrenica”. The two team Captains, Ryan and Jake publicised the event.
Following on from this event, Ryan decided he had been moved by learning about the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica and spoke to his parents about wanting to do more to highlight the events. He was made aware of the pledge on the Thurrock Council Website and asked why Basildon did not have a similar pledge. He wrote to Basildon Council to ask the question. He received an invitation to meet Councillor Terri Sargent and Grant Taylor. The meeting took place at the beginning of the “Remembering Srebrenica” Memorial Week. Work will commence on a Basildon Council Policy ready for 2022.
Work producing Alfie’s song that begun in June was finally completed in July thanks to the editing and green screen work by Young Twin Llyam Curtis. Listen for yourself on YouTube
To coincide with the start of the Olympics in Tokyo, a superstars event was held at The Sporting Village. The original intention had been to invite our French and German friends to join us but naturally this was not possible. Instead, we ran a day of activities here and invited our friends across the sea to do the same in their towns, send their results so that we could run a virtual competition. It sort of worked. The Germans finally could not compete but the French in Meaux did. We could not compare overall results as they did slightly different competitions but still enjoyed their day. We decided to award medals to our own teams and just be thankful that we were able to co-operate in joining together in an event.
The Basildon event was a huge success. The crowning glory was that it encouraged three families to sign up to Twinning. We have been asked to organise a similar event next year and hope that the Germans and French can join us this time.
11th August – Richard Bartlett Memorial Cricket Match
As part of The Forget Never Project we had pledged to organise an annual Cricket Match to remember Richard Bartlett who was a Wickford Cricket Club Member who had been killed on The Somme in 1916.
The matches are played annually between Wickford and Billericay Clubs for Juniors and between Wickford and local celebrities as adults. Games alternate – adults one year and juniors the next.
This year it was the turn of the juniors.
25th August Go-Karting Day
This may seem a strange addition to our regular programme but it had been decided that since the setting up of our Young Twins Group, Covid 19 has intervened in the running of events. It dawned on us that many of our new Young Twins had never actually met each other except for on WhatsApp. It was time to run something whereby they could meet socially and introduce themselves in the flesh.
GB v Germany v France – Run Challenge
This September saw the second run challenge which was inaugurated in 2020. Last year the team from Basildon won the competition with ease but a strong challenge was expected from Germany as they were disappointed by their showing in the challenge. 2021 was therefore expected to be far more competitive. This year the French entered a team to make the event even more interesting.
At the end of the event Team GB maintained their advantage over the Germans but by a much reduced margin. However, the real shock that both Team GB and Germany were beaten narrowly by the French from Meaux.
Strong performances for Team GB came from Colin Wishart in the adult section followed by Llyam Curtis, Logan Curtis, Harry Wishart and Max Wishart.
We lost out to France in the trophy so 2022 issues a warning to up our game next year.
The International Day of Peace 21st September 2021
This year there were four football matches and tournaments and netball being included too. A film was made of Peace quotes and statements that involved interaction with our German and French counterparts.
On the eve of the UN Peace Day the match between our own Young Twins and the group made up of Basildon’s BME community and migrants organised by Ryan Donnelly in conjunction with the ATF took place. Basildon’s Mayor David Dadds was in attendance along with Councillor Yetunde Adeshile and County Councillor Tony Ball. Councillor Kevin Blake agreed to referee the game as he is a qualified FA official.
Ryan was praised for his efforts in getting the game together and the feedback received from the ATF group was they were pleased with the friendly and respectful way they had been welcomed and treated. A big thank you to all those involved.
Do you like the new twinning football kit?
The morning of 21st itself saw three Basildon Primary Schools meet up for a mini peace football and netball tournament.
Children from Northlands Primary School and Lee Chapel Primary School were hosted by Greensted Junior School. The theme of “Hate won’t Win” was well received by the children as can be seen on their video.
In the afternoon Year 8 students from Harris Academy travelled to Beauchamps High School to play the Peace Game. Harris Academy is Martin Leslie’s new School, having been a senior member of staff at Beauchamps High School up to 2020. The Head Teacher of The Harris Academy wrote a wonderful piece in this school magazine and to us for organising.
A few days after the traditional game between the Year 8’s of Woodlands and Beauchamps High completed their game and the contribution to the International Peace day. Hopefully these players will play every year for the next four years to continue the tradition and the commitment to the Peace Field Initiative.
Our thanks to Jenny Squibb, Basildon Council’s Voluntary Sector Development Officer for her attendance and the help in presenting the boys with their commemorative medals.
Finally, as last year, a film was produced to show our commitment to the values of Peace. People from different walks of life are included and you can see it here
You might be interested to view other films related to this report on You Tube:
https://youtu.be/WiXxl-h3E_Y Ryan and Young Twins meet Councillor Sargent regarding Srebrenica
https://youtu.be/j3EbjPcVswg Olympic Superstars
https://youtu.be/ku3eU0bHiEk Richard Bartlett Cricket Match
https://youtu.be/a8T2ufDeAEg Go Karting Day
https://youtu.be/eQgcQIQWdDE International Day of Peace Round Up
https://youtu.be/SEnDST_pjnI Woodlands V Beauchamps – An hour long as it involves the whole game. If you don’t want to view the entire match, then you may like to view the first two minutes and the last three to get a flavour of the annual occasion.
The Next Issue:
German reunification party and sponsored walk
Clay Pigeon Shoot Day
Bake off competition with cake and Tea
Basildon Round Table Fireworks Display
Remembrance Day and Volktrauertag (Remembrance Day in Germany)
Nativity Play in a barn
End oy Year Report and Party