A LANDMARK project exploring life during the First World War for residents in three Evesham villages has been handed a £10,000 cash boost.
The Badsey Society was handed the cash injection from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a project entitled ‘Badsey, Aldington and Wickhamford – a rural community’s view of the Great War’.
Awarded through HLF’s ‘First World War: then and now’ programme, the project will focus on all aspects of life for the villagers of the market gardening communities of Badsey, Aldington and Wickhamford during the First World War, whether at home or overseas.
As well as finding out more about the German prisoners of war, the project will look at the tribunals of men who claimed exemption, Belgian refugees who were sheltered in the village, food production, the role of women and the variety of activities on the home front.
And organisers hope the ultimate result of the ambitious will be a book and new website to display the research to a worldwide audience.
A major part of the project will be for a team of volunteers to transcribe the vast quantity of letters written by the Sladden family of Seward House, Badsey; these letters are now held at The Hive in Worcester and the Imperial War Museum in London.
The letters, written by Sir Julius Sladden and his wife, Eugénie, and their eight children, all of whom survived the war with one son gaining the Military Cross, deserve special attention as they provide a first-hand account of events as they were unfolding.
Maureen Spinks, Chairman of The Badsey Society, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable us to look at this period in our villages’ history in more detail.
“The Great War reached out and touched almost everyone’s life in some way or other.
“We are fortunate that we have rich resources in Badsey and Wickhamford to call upon which we plan to make available to a worldwide audience,” she said.
Reyahn King, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond.
“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we’re pleased to support this project which will provide an insight of the personal stories surrounding the First World War and create a lasting memory of our communities during the conflict.”
The Badsey Society will have a stand at Badsey Flower Show on Saturday, July 25 which will offer more information about the project.