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OTTERY:‘Ground-breaking’ community initiative to tell story of WWI

Tuesday, 08 July 2014

Local history enthusiast Nigel Scarr, pictured with Plantagenesta owner Mary Hyland, is leading a community initiative to commemorate the anniversary of World War One

Local history enthusiast Nigel Scarr, pictured with Plantagenesta owner Mary Hyland, is leading a community initiative to commemorate the anniversary of World War One

Ottery residents are being encouraged to support a unique community initiative designed to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of a series of World War One events. An exhibition of war memorabilia, including weaponry, helmets and maps, as well as diary extracts and other personal records, is due to go on display this weekend, starting a chain of commemorative events to be held over the next four years to mark the conflict. Local history enthusiast Nigel Scarr, who began the project in Talaton, is hoping to collect donations over the course of the project, in order to fund reproductions of the 1919 ‘Peace Mugs’. The mugs would then be distributed to local children, in an effort to keep the memory of war alive in future generations. Mr Scarr will be displaying his extensive personal collection of wartime memorabilia on Saturday, and is encouraging other enthusiasts to share their own wartime connections. He said: “We have the next four years to ensure our younger generations remember the story of the war - if we do not get it right now it will be 100 years gone and the memory will be lost. “This is quite a unique collection which helps to shed light on the military and social history of the war, and many of these items have not been put on display before. “We are also planning to produce a community play, run a wartime food exhibition and even hold a football match at Christmas to mark the anniversary of the truce and recreate the story of the war. “It is about educating, informing and inspiring people.” Mary Hyland, owner of Honiton’s specialist family history business “Plantagenesta”, is also showing her support for the scheme and is inviting residents to visit the High Street shop to find out more. She said: “When he first showed me, I could not believe the collection of memorabilia Nigel had put together over the last ten years. “We are now hoping this ground-breaking initiative will gather huge momentum with local people and open a gateway to the past.” The free exhibition, titled “Lest We Forget”, will take place at the Church of St James in Talaton on Saturday (July 12th) between 12noon and 8pm. Anyone who would like to contribute to the project can contact Nigel Scarr on 07917 133663 or visit

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