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Turning the clock back to 1919 - town celebrates Peace Day centenary

Races at the Dereham Peace Day in 1919. Picture: Gordon Olley Archive

Races at the Dereham Peace Day in 1919. Picture: Gordon Olley Archive

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Come out to make today's Dereham Peace Day celebrations a massive success.

Crowds at the Dereham Peace Day in 1919. Picture: Gordon Olley ArchiveCrowds at the Dereham Peace Day in 1919. Picture: Gordon Olley Archive

That's the plea to the community ahead of a packed day of events around the town.

A parade of returning soldiers who are arriving by steam train, local characters in period costumes, a church service, afternoon of games and fun on the Rec and a free tea for local pensioners are among the highlights of the day, which will mark 100 years since peace was celebrated in the town after the first world war.

Peace Day is replacing the town carnival for this year.

Organiser Judy Rogers said: "The Dereham Carnival Committee want to celebrate the Peace Day Centenary by providing the town with a really memorable event with something to interest everyone.

A soldier is ready for the Dereham Peace Day celebrations. Picture: The Royal Norfolk RegimentA soldier is ready for the Dereham Peace Day celebrations. Picture: The Royal Norfolk Regiment

"The idea is to recreate our Peace Day activities as far as possible."

The Baptist Church will give out a special copy of Luke's account of the story of Jesus's life to 100 children as they did on the original day.

Mrs Rogers said: "Whatever the weather the event will go ahead. Be prepared and bring a brolly!"

At 9am the soldiers will arrive on a steam train at the Mid Norfolk Railway station. They will be met by visitors from 1919 before a guard of honour, organised by the Royal British Legion, takes place. A special viewing area is being set up for the public. RBL members will lead a march with army personnel to the Market Place.

Personnel ready for the Dereham Peace Day celebrations. Picture: The Royal Norfolk RegimentPersonnel ready for the Dereham Peace Day celebrations. Picture: The Royal Norfolk Regiment

At 10am an inter-denominational Peace Day service will take place at St Nicholas Church. It will be attended by the 1919 visitors, soldiers and invited guests, including the families of men whose names appear on Dereham's war memorial plus families of men who survived the Great War. It is also open to anyone else who wants to go.

The rest of the programme:

You may also want to watch:

-10.45am - Church bells will ring.

Personnel ready for the Dereham Peace Day celebrations. Picture: The Royal Norfolk RegimentPersonnel ready for the Dereham Peace Day celebrations. Picture: The Royal Norfolk Regiment

-Noon - The 1919 visitors and soldiers will have lunch at the King's Head, where people are invited to share a pint or two with them.

-1pm - The 1919 visitors and soldiers will walk to the Recreation Ground, where an afternoon of activities will begin. There will be a Union Jack parade and children are invited to make their own and bring them along. There will also be races including running, novelty, skipping, hobby horse, a free puppet show, exhibitions, cream teas, maypole, side shows, games, entertainment, a fancy dress competition including one with bicycles, prams and pushchairs, and stalls. People are also welcome to bring picnics and there is a free afternoon tea for pensioners who have got a ticket in advance.

Race times:

-1.15pm - Children's Union Jack parade;

Personnel ready for the Dereham Peace Day. Picture: The Royal Norfolk RegimentPersonnel ready for the Dereham Peace Day. Picture: The Royal Norfolk Regiment

-1.25pm - Dance With Me display on race track;

-1.45pm - Fancy dress competitions - bicycles, prams, children and adults;

-2.15pm - Dance displays at maypole;

-2.30pm - Races begin: 50 yards under fives hobby horse; 100 yards adult egg and spoon; 50 yards under 10s egg and spoon; 50 yards under sixes egg and spoon; 50 yards adult men's sack; 50 yards adult women's sack; 50 yards children's sack; 100 yards men's sprint; 100 yards under 16s sprint boys; 100 yards under 16s sprint girls;

The peace celebrations in 1919. Dereham's annual carnival will be replaced with a special Dereham Peace Day to mark 100 years since the end of the war in 2019. Picture: Courtesy of Judy RogersThe peace celebrations in 1919. Dereham's annual carnival will be replaced with a special Dereham Peace Day to mark 100 years since the end of the war in 2019. Picture: Courtesy of Judy Rogers

-4pm - Tug of war between the 1919 visitors and soldiers.-4.30pm Presentation of trophies and tug o war - soldiers v civilians.

-4.30pm - Presentations will take place. Here is the full programme for the day:

-Photographic and video competition - People are invited to take as many pictures as they like and videos of events during the day. These will be displayed on the Dereham Carnival website and the best photograph and video will win engraved centenary cups. Runners up will receive centenary medals.

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