On Sunday 29th June, Littlehempston is privileged to host a very special event to commemorate the centenary of the Great War. This is an early warning as tickets will disappear fast. Local author and playwright, Valerie Belsey, has written Out of Memorium as a tribute to all those who did and didn’t come back from the Great War, and in particular those from the village of Littlehempston.
Six members of the parish died out of the 32 village men who signed up – one who did survive was Harry Barter, who at 6ft 8ins was the tallest soldier in the British Army. The play is directed by Jane Sandoz of the Totnes Youth Theatre and is performed by young TYT members with music from members of the Plymouth Military Wives Choir and folk singer, Jim Causley. One song is entitled, “It’s a Long Way to Littlehempston”. Amongst the young actors and actresses from TYT is Nia Collard Baker, granddaughter of Lindy Collard-Baker, who lives in the village.
Valerie said the play also tells the story of how every place in the country, however small, was affected. Farming patterns changed, people’s eating habits, women’s roles and families changed, the class structure and attitudes to empire were changed and warfare became mechanised. She commented “This was the war that led directly to the formation of the society we live in today.”
Tickets can be bought at the Totnes Information Centre or by phoning 01803 866916.