It will all be over by Christmas

It will all be over by Christmas - South Devon Railway

By: John Brodribb
Added: 12 June 2014

The South Devon Railway Trust Museum Support Group has received £3,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, ‘It will all be over by Christmas’, in Buckfastleigh. Awarded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme, the project, which is led by volunteers from the local community, will organise three pageants in late June to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The pageants will involve all of the pupils at Buckfastleigh Primary School in two events, on 19 and 20 June. Community groups throughout the town have their own pageant on Sunday 22 June, with all starting at the Town Hall and ending at Buckfastleigh station, on the South Devon Railway. The SDRT Museum Support Group is working with Buckfastleigh Town Council – which has also provided grant aid – Buckfastleigh Primary School, the Valiant Soldier museum, the Orchard Millennium Green Trust and the South Devon Railway Trust, and the pageants will take place on three days, so that as many people as possible from Buckfastleigh experience the impact of the outbreak of war, and learn about the state of society in 1914.

The SDRT Museum Support Group is a group of volunteers who steward, maintain and operate all aspects of the South Devon Railway Museum. Railways were the glue that held the fabric of local society and industry together, enabling people to get to work, and raw materials and finished products to be transported. In Buckfastleigh the woollen industry and farming were of vital importance, and many young men saw joining up as a way to get away from everyday drudgery and see the world. Little did they know how long the war would last, and the dreadful cost to everyone in the country. A century after it started, these pageants will provide a great way for today’s young people to start to understand their impact.

Commenting on the award, Wendy Brodribb said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and we are confident the project will support young people in Buckfastleigh learning about their local heritage”.

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, the head of the HLF in the South West, Nerys Watts, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching every corner of the UK. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £52million in projects – large and small - that are marking this global Centenary; with our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in the ‘It Will All Be Over by Christmas’ project to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”