The launch of "Life Went On - The Raunds Great War Diary, Volume 2, 1917-1921
A low-key event was held at Raunds Library on the morning of Saturday, 30 April, to launch the final book in our trilogy, thus completing the journey that Andy and Steve set out on in 2005 to record the lives of the town's dead from the two World Wars and chronicle the goings on in the town and district during the Great War.
Several old friends came along to make their purchases and, in a few cases, indulge in a bit of "chopsin"! - We thank them all.
Steve and Andy, flanked by "Hutch" and Pete Inns. (Photo - Chantelle Dace)
The Launch of "Life Went On" - The Raunds Great War Diary, Volume 1 1914-1916
After much advance publicity, including a return appearance on BBC Radio Northampton's Bernie Keith Show, the sun shone down on a cold but dry Raunds to herald the launch, at the Lower Vestry of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Brook Street, of our latest book.
On our arrival, the Lower Vestry was of a surprisingly Christmassy look with a full-sized Crib Scene, 10 foot Christmas Tree and Gift Stall & Brownies Christmas Card Post Box.
As expected, the published opening time of 10.00am was totally ignored by the locals and customers began arriving at 9.00 amid frantic scenes of feverish display set-up, but these early birds still went away happily clutching their valued purchases!
We were joined for the occasion by our friends Eric & Eddie of the Thrapston War Memorial Study Group, Ian & Geoff of the "Arm Boys", and Hutch, founder of the embryonic "Raunds Historical & Archaeological Research Group". The displays of these varied groups provided a welcome extra dimension of interest for our numerous visitors.
At 10 o'clock sharp, and possibly for the first ever, Raunds temporarily experienced a serious bout of "mal-de-mayor", with the appearance of not one but two council leaders, both willing and eager to be seen buying a copy of the new book - they were not to be disappointed!
Two distinguished local authors make their purchase.
At times during the morning it was standing room only as many unexpected reunions of old friends and relatives took place, meanwhile sat at their table, Andy and Steve busily relieved a non-stop procession of customers of their hard earned cash.
A general view of the proceedings.
After over 2 hours of selling, the room finally cleared and at 12.30 the team slumped into chairs to review what was undoubtedly a most successful event. Now we know what a lot of local folk will be getting for Christmas!
So it's "Thanks" from Steve & Andy to:
The Minister and Peter Judge for kindly allowing us use of the Lower Vestry of the Brook Street Methodist Church for the event.
Eric, Eddie, Ian, Geoff & Hutch for bringing along their displays.
Maggie for acting as general gopher during the morning.
Jane, Jenny & Chantelle for manning the tea stall.
Maddie & Max for not dropping custard creams on the books or displays.
And finally ....
Everyone who came along and who not only bought the new book, but also articles from the Charity Stall resulting in a £35 donation to be shared by the British Heart Foundation and Lavender Trust.
The Launch of "A Wall Unto Us" - The Raunds Roll of Honour
The keenly awaited launch of our new book took place in the Council Chamber of Raunds Town Hall on Friday evening when 70 or more invited guests joined us.
By the official opening time of 7pm the room was already filling up with early arrivals and soon the atmosphere was decidedly "cosy", helped in no small part by the building's central heating system refusing to be switched off despite the soaring temperature. Happily there were no casualties from heat stroke.
Group leaders Steve Bence & Andy Dace were at the door on "greeting" duties, cool drinks were a welcome offering as was the opportunity to take part in a charity raffle in aid of the "War Memorials Trust" for which a copy of our new book was first prize.
To amuse the audience in the period up to the official launch time an exhibition showing some of our research findings was displayed.
At 7.45pm, the shrill sound of a genuine WW1 officer's whistle called the room to order. Steve then welcomed all and gave a short speech covering the origins of the group and project, how the book came into being and closed with some facts and figures on Raunds in the 2 World Wars.
A spellbound audience!
Steve describes the lengths the team had gone to in researching the book. (photo Sue Tall)
Then followed a minute's silence in memory of all victims of war, after which Mr David Thoday, Chairman of the Raunds & District Branch of the Royal British Legion, spoke the immortal words of Laurence Binyon from "For the Fallen".
The formal part of the evening closed with the presentation of complimentary copies of the book to representatives of the following organisations from the town and county:
The Mayor of Raunds, Councillor Michelle Goring on behalf of the Town Council
Mr Stan Payne, President of the Raunds & District Branch of the Royal British Legion
Father Brian Leatherland, St Thomas More Catholic Church, Mr Adrian Smith, St Peter's Church & Reverend Dave Warnock, Raunds Methodist Church
Mr Richard Asbury, St Peter's C of E Junior School ; Mr Roy Butler, Kimbolton School
(Sadly neither the Manor School nor the Windmill Primary School felt able to send a representative!)
Mr Bryan Brittain, Raunds & District History Society
Mrs Angela Malin, Chair of Northamptonshire Family History Society
Mr David Parish, Chairman of the Northamptonshire Branch of the Western Front Society - sharing a joke with Mr David Thoday and Mr Adrian Smith.
The charity raffle was then drawn (the lucky winner now not needing to buy a copy of the book!) after which our publication went on sale and a hectic few minutes then ensued.
(above & below) Eager buyers make their purchases ......
As the "Higham Boys" take the opportunity to see how it's really done!
And while the socialising continued,
Old acquaintances were renewed (photo Sue Tall) ....
And a last chance to study the displays was taken,
The Legion cornered the Mayor ........
Before the last goodbyes were said.
Conclusion & Thanks:
The evening was a great success, the book received a very positive response and £70 was raised for the "War Memorials Trust" - maybe this and more will find its way back to the town to refurbish our memorial.
Finally, Steve & Andy would like to thank Raunds Town Council for kindly allowing us use of their facilities and the following team members whose invaluable help ensured that the evening ran so smoothly:
Maggie Bence & Angie Vernals, the "Would you like a top up?" girls,
Jane"You vill buy some raffle tickets von't you!" Rockingham,
Ralph"I'll fetch a cloth" Rockingham and
"Digital"Dave Vernals, who took all of the above photographs unless stated otherwise.
A fine sunny morning welcomed us as we arrived at the Lower Vestry of the Wesleyan Chapel to set up our displays in readiness for our latest "Open Morning" and the weather set the tone for what proved to be our most successful event so far.
Doors opened at 9.30 and the initial trickle of customers soon turned into a steady flow, so much so that by the time 10 o'clock arrived and the Mayor of Raunds was about to be presented with the "first" copy of our new "Guide to theWar Memorials of Raunds", it was standing room only.
This excellent response from the folk of Raunds and beyond continued through to way past the planned closing time of 12 noon when we estimated that over 100 people had (hopefully) been entertained.
Two particular happenings of the morning must be highlighted:
* The identification of one of our six "mystery men" photos as being that of Leslie Beman Nunley, thanks to Mr J Nunley of Rushden for this and also for the loan of some additional Nunley material.
* The presentation to the Group of photos, medals and associated material related to George Mundin Orton. Special thanks to Margaret Hlavacek and Mollie Atkins for their kind generosity.
The team of Andy, Steve and Tony would like to say thanks again to everyone who came along to support us (many of whom were conscripted into the "Make Your Own Tea Brigade"!) and with an extra big THANK YOU to our special guests:
Kevin Varty, our friend from the Western Front Association who provided a stunning display of WW1 artefacts to look at and play with.
Geoff Moore of the "Higham Boys", who are researching the WW1 casualties from our near neighbours just down the road.
The Mayor of Raunds, for his very kind words on our efforts to date.
The quiet before the tidal wave of visitors arrived!
Details of how to obtain a copy of our first publication, "A Guide to the War Memorials of Raunds", can be found on our "Publications" page.
Our next "Open Morning" is planned for the autumn, full details will appear on our website and in the local press.