Somme August 2018

6 of us set off from our homes for our annual trip to the Somme last weekend. Instead of our usual sponsored walk we had decided to have a rest and just organised a trip to walk the battlefields and visit graves. Staying at the beautiful Snowden house in Longueval, which is fast turning into our second base.

We had beautiful weather every day, which encouraged the more slothful of us to get up in the mornings.

One of the places we visited was Lochnagar crater to see our own memorial to the women of the Great War and our Nurses memorial bench. Unfortunately someone has carved their initials into the bench so hopefully this will be put right soon.

As always we went up the Serre Road to Matthew Copse and Queens cemetery to pay respects to the Chorley Pals and Accrington Pals, leaving poppies for William Tootell and Seth Rollins. We didn’t see the farmer but no worries as he seems to like us for some reason.

The girls also had a visit to Delville Woods, which is just along the road from Snowden House.

Several of the girls visited Vimy Memorial as one of our ladies, Debra is a Canadian and was eager to see where her ancestors had fought.

Suzanna and Sue took the opportunity to visit the Porter Household and book up for next year. Then spent the afternoon updating the website and doing admin (hey! we are supposed to be on holiday)

This has been a wonderful trip with like minded people, wonderful weather and even better egg and chips at Tommy’s in Pozieres thanks Dominique.

See you next year.

Hay On Wye

On Thursday 2nd August we set off from Cornwall for Hay On Wye.
The field of white tents was an overwhelming sight to see, so many wonderful living history groups all together with British Army modern day medics.
It was a pleasure to meet Tommy’s Sisters from Holland and many more wonderful people. The weekend was topped off with a parade through the town in which some of our women took part.
A huge thanks to Kelvyn Jenkins for his magnificent organisational skills and of course our fabulous volunteers.

Bodmin Trench

After taking part in this fantastic even, our founder Sue Robinson has written an account for you all.

 

“Early in 2018 I had a meeting with a chap called Jason Squibb about an immersive theatre production that he was going to put together for the summer up at our Regimental museum Bodmin Cornwall (DCLI). 

I agreed that Wenches would be part of it, never knowing the impact it would have. Come June 15th we turned up, minus tents as they had been badly stored and were covered in Mildew. The museum loaned us a tent and we managed.

From day 1 this immersive theatre was not like aything we had ever done or expected to do. Every night was different. We mixed up blood and our girls had much fun daubing it on peoples faces and arms after the battle. Each night once the audience had entered the trench we quietly went down the field and made a cemetery of white crosses. The first time I saw the VADs standing amongst these I felt a chill down my spine.

As the month progressed it just got better and better. When the steam train pulled in each night carrying the audience and actors we were the first sight they saw as they alighted onto the battlefield. When they pulled away at the end we were the last sight they saw, our girls stood and waved until they were out of sight.

All in all its the best event that we have ever been involved with and I was sad when it ended.
I would like to say a huge thank you to The Duke of Cornwall’s light infantry Museum Bodmin, Mary Godwin, Jason Squibb, all the actors and most of all to the volunteers who came night after night to put on our uniforms and represent the valiant women of the Great War so splendidly.
I hope that we truly honoured these magnificent women”.

Goodbye Graham

It is with great sadness that we at Wenches are saying goodbye to our dear friend and avid supporter Graham Evans.
Graham sadly passed away last night. 

Graham has been a much loved member of Wenches In Trenches for a few years now and will missed by everyone that knew him.
Our thoughts are with Graham’s family at this difficult time.

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Latest Addition To Our Inventory

We are very pleased to announce that the latest addition to our inventory is this beautiful 1920’s French invalid carriage used by officers convalescing after the Great War. Made by Poirier, the engine is Sachs (Germany). The carriage was donated to Wenches In Trenches by Graham Evans. We thank Graham for his very kind donation.
This will now be a permanant exhibit for our medical tent

Vandalism on The Somme

We are very sad to say that earlier this week vandals struck at Lochnagar crater on the Somme. They damaged our memorial to the Women of all nations along with the information boards that are placed around the crater.
We immediately started a crowdfunding page and are happy to say we have managed to raise £1,000 within 18 hours!
This will not only pay for the repairs to our own memorial but hopefully cover the cost of repairing all the damage.
A huge thank you to all our supporters and followers, we really appreciate your support.

 

Chatteris Village Event

Chatteris  Village Event Friday 24th November

Three of our members,  Sue Robinson, Sarah Snow and Audrey Woodrow made the long journey to Cambridgeshire to attend the RBL Youth event in Chatteris village to which we had been invited, along with our WW1 dressing station. We stayed in the lovely village of March for 2 nights and it was extremely cold.
On the Saturday we went to Chatteris working mens club where the event was set up. They welcomed us with cups of tea and friendliness. We had a wonderful day with some wonderful young people, some of them dressed in our spare uniforms.
The village was commemorating George Clare VC, he was a resident who is fondly remembered.
Around 200 people came to see us and the rest of the WW1 exhibits also to sample the Trench cake that was on offer.
It was worth such a long trip to help commemorate a brave soldier who went that extra mile to help others and to sacrifice his life. Thank you people of Chatteris for making us so welcome. A special mention for Becky the wonderwoman. Many thanks.

A Very Busy November

It has been a busy November for us, lots of miles covered and some fantastic events attended. Sue Robinson, Founder of Wenches In Trenches writes for us an account of her travels:

November 11th, Wakefield

On 11th November I drove from Cornwall up to Wakefield, my host for the weekend was the eminent Professor Christine Hallett, Professor Hallett is a world leading authority on WW1 nurses and medical practices, she is  published author and well respected historian.
That night we attended Wakefield Cathedral to hear Requiem for the Armed man by Carl Jenkins performed by the Yorkshire Philharmonic Orchestra, it was astounding I have never heard anything so powerful we left the cathedral feeling rather stunned by what we had heard.

 On Remembrance Sunday we once again went to the cathedral for evensong with dedications to Nurse Nellie Spindler. readings by Christine Hallett and others, Surprise of the day for me was Nellies Nieces and a Nephew who attended. I spent some time talking with Margaret Truelove and Julia Corbett (nieces) as well as George Spindler, a man of few words, they were obviously bursting with price and rightly so.

For me the highlight of the weekend was to be handed Nellies last letter home to her mother before she was killed. I read it in silence and felt truly humbled and to be honest didnt want to hand it back. Julia also was wearing a silver medallion that nellie had sent to her mother as a present.

That day was worth a kings ransom, as we all remembered the lovely,deeply religious 26 year old staff nurse who gave her life for our country in 1917.

Thank you Nellie you will never be forgotten

November 16th York Army Museum

Myself and Richie Parsons of Parsons Period Presentations gave a presentation at the York Army Museum  on medics in ww1, Richie did his thing and I was at the opposite end of the big room doing wounds for the school children and letting them pour water onto Spaggi moss to see it swell and grow before their eyes. One child commented “wait till I tell my mam I went to a magic show at the museum”. Maybe not the reaction I expected. We left the splendid Museum and lovely Allison Freeman the curator with good memories and hope we will be invited back sometime soon.

November 17th, Wound Innovation Conference Leeds University

I must admit I was very nervous about this event but it turned out that I did not need to be worried. We were given lovely accommodation and royaly looked after by everyone we met. I did this event with Audrey our Wench in Wales. We had the best of times, met with some amazing people from all fields of medicine and science, made many new friends but most of all I learned so much. There were fabulous speakers including Professor Alison Fell and Professor Christine Hallett. A wonderful presentation of a VAD by Dr Kate Vigurs and much much more. Plus a great lunch served on tin plates such as the nurses would have had. Then in the afternoon a typical nurses Edwardian afternoon tea with cakes and sandwiches.

We were sorry to say goodbye to Leeds and its amazing people. A huge thank you to Dr Mary Madden and Professor Alison Fell and everyone involved.

 

 

 

Cannock Chase Event

Last week some of us travelled up to Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, to take part in the heritage event there. It was a really good event with many ww1 Living history and re-enactors attending. With the grateful help of some locals our two tents were unloaded and erected.
We had a fabulous 2 days meeting and chatting to lots of people from many different walks of life. We had Turkish Muslim ladies come and invite us to their EID picnic and BBQ.

Cannock is a truly great venue and the people up there are some of the best we have encountered. Our volunteers came from Northern Ireland, Liverpool, South Wales, Gloucestershire and Cornwall for this event.
We would like to say thank you to all that helped, volunteered and visited us at the event. 

If you would like to visit us and our fabulous WW1 Field Hospital please check out our events page to see where we are next.

Wenches In Trenches Book

We are pleased to announce that the wonderful book, Wenches In Trenches, Roses Of No Mans Land by Lucy London is available again.

This second run of books is now available to purchase for £6 + £2 postage.

All proceeds from the sale of the book will be going towards the Wenches Memorial Fund

You can purchase a copy via our Paypal page, Virgin Giving page  or by contacting sue@wenchesintrenches.co.uk
The email address for Paypal is wenches2014@gmail.com

When paying by Paypal or Virgin Giving please state that you are requesting a book and the address that it needs to be posted to.

Kitty Added To Memorial

Today we gathered in the beautiful hamlet of Meavy in Devon, in the rain, for the unveiling of the war memorial that now has young Kitty Trevelyan’s name on it. Kitty went to France in WW1 and was employed as a civilian worker with Army Canteens. After contracting Measles then developing Pneumonia sadly she died at just age 19. She is buried in Wimereaux Cemetery in Pais De Calais, France. Kitty died on 27th February 1917, 100 years ago tomorrow!

Wenches In Trenches are very proud to have been able to organise and fund the addition of Kitty’s name to Meavy’s war memorial. There was a good turnout at the memorial to help us remember Kitty, including her Great Nephew, Oliver.
The last post was played by members of the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service Band. 

We would like to thank everyone that turned up today. It has been a fabulous day and a great start to our Forgotten Women Of The Great War project.

New Project for 2017

Forgotten Women of the Great War

2017 a new year and a new project, we at Wenches have thought long and hard as what to do next?

How can we further the recognition of those women who bravely went to war in all kinds of roles?

Much research has been done and we were amazed to discover that of the many many women who lost their lives in the Great War due to sickness, weariness and indeed injury, although remembered by Commonwealth War Graves, a lot are not included on the war memorials of their respective towns and villages.

A good example is young Kitty Trevelyan who left her Dartmoor hamlet of Meavy aged about 17 or 18. Kitty was employed as a civilian worker with Army canteens. In february 1917 she caught Measles and quickly developed Pneumonia. She died on 27thFebruary and lies in Wimereaux Cemetery in the Pas De Calais France aged just 19.

In her village there have been just 3 names on the tiny memorial for the past 100 years. No reason is given for the omission we can only deduct that she was left off because she was a woman.

Because of this we have decided that for the next couple of years our main project will be – Forgotten Women Of The Great War, or as we are affectionally calling it Operation Kitty.

Our goal is to add as many women to their towns memorials as possible. We already have a good list of names to start us off.

If you think that you have a female relative or you know of any female who died in that war while serving either here or overseas and she is not on the memorial please contact us here at Wenches.

We are very proud to add that on February 26th 2017 we will be in Meavy to hold a ceremony and to unveil the memorial which now has Kitty’s name added almost 100 years to the day after she died.

 

Armistice On The Somme

For the last few years Wenches In Trenches founder Sue has made the journey to the Somme during November for the Armistice. Last year one of the Wenches team, Suzanna, joined her for her first Armistice on the Somme. Suzanna really enjoyed the atmosphere of the visit and so when it came time to go this year she once again joined Sue on the journey. Of course this visit would be made extra special by the unveiling of the Wenches In Trenches granite memorial to the women of the war at Lochnagar Crater.
The pair arrived in France and travelled to Albert where they were staying. The beautiful Hotel De La Paix would be their base for the visit. They soon discovered though that the downside to staying in this lovely old French hotel was that there was no lift! (their room was on the top floor)

The evening before 11th November Sue and Suzanna attended the ‘Sing For Your Supper’ event organised by the Somme branch of the Royal British Legion. A fantastic evening of good food and lots of singing. Music was provided by the Hampshire Constabulary Band. It was a brilliant night.

On the morning of the 11th the ladies decided to take a quieter approach to the morning. Forgoing the usual hustle and bustle of taking part in the village proceedings at La Boiselle, Sue and Suzanna made their way to Poiziers cemetery. With no one else in sight the two paid their respects at the cemetery. Afterwards they made their way to Quarry cemetery in Montauban to lay a poppy cross for a distant relative of Suzanna’s.  When leaving the cemetery they were held up by the villagers of Montaubant who were having their ceremony at the Liverpool Pals memorial in the village. A young villager ended the ceremony by playing the British national anthem on a trumpet, it was a very surreal experience.

In the afternoon Sue and Suzanna made their way to Lochnagar Crater for the unveiling of the Wenches In Trenches granite memorial to the Women of the war. The memorial is the realisation of a dream for Wenches founder Sue, inspired by her granny Isabella, without whom Wenches would not be here. It was an emotional moment for both Sue and Suzanna as the plastic covering was lifted by Richard Dunning, the owner of Lochnagar Crater. Inscribed with the words ‘Dedicated to the valiant women of all nations who served in The Great War’ the memorial sits opposite the memorial bench that was placed at the crater last year. It looks magnificent and we are very proud to have been able to have funded this amazing tribute to the women of the war.

Wenches In Trenches would like to thank everyone that has contributed in the process of making these memorials happen. We would like to thank everyone that has donated or sponsored one of our events, Richard Dunning and all the team at Lochnagar Crater, Vinny Felstead your craftsmanship is amazing, all of the team at Wenches In Trenches, the ladies who have walked in any of our events and all of the supporters we have worked with along the way. Thank you!

On the way back to Calais Sue and Suzanna stopped off at Wimereux cemetery to pay their respects to all the women laid to rest there. A wreath was laid on the cross of sacrifice from all at Wenches In Trenches and poppy crosses laid on all the graves of the women that are laid there.

Keep an eye on the website for details of our next project.
www.wenchesintrenches.co.uk

 

Somme Walk Day 3

So we have done it, another year over. We have finished our second day of walking in France. We began the day at Citadel Cemetery, walking up towards Bois Francais passing Point 110 Old and New Cemeteries. We had some rather unforeseen sound effects for todays walk. It was the shooting season on the Somme! So every now and then we could hear the sound of gunfire, this was a very surreal effect while we were walking. At one point we were passed by a very large hare running away from a hunters dog.
We visited the site of the infamous Levens Flamethrower, visited Fricourt German Cemetery saw the headstone for Harry Fellows and the Mametz Welsh Dragon memorial. Of course we visited the Wenches In Trenches bench at Lochnagar Crater where we laid a poppy cross.
We would like to say a massive thank you to Ian McHenry who guided us on this walk, he was a brilliant guide and really made the walk so much more interesting. Thank you to Ian McGill for being our driver. Thank you to Sue Robinson for all your tireless work behind the scenes, without you we would not be here!
Thank you to all the walkers, you were stars and without you there would not be a walk. One last thank you to all the people who have supported and sponsored our walkers this year. It has been a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

If you are interested in taking part in a future walk please email sue@wenchesintrenches.co.uk for more information

Second Day On The Somme

Today was our second day on the Somme but our first day of walking. We started the day at Ovillers and made our way to Theipval by way of Authulle. At Theipval we were lucky to arrive just as there was a service starting. The Millar band from Belfast were marching up to the memorial, it was beautiful.  After a lovely lunch we continued our walk from The Ulster Tower to Saint Pierre Divion, Hamel to Newfoundland Park. One of our walkers, Debra is from Canada so this final stop was especially important for her.

We have had a fantastic day with some brilliant people, including our guide Iain McHenry. We are looking forward to completing our walk tomorrow.

Somme Walk Day 1

We arrived in France yesterday afternoon and took the day to unpack and relax after our long journey. One of our team has travelled all the way from Victoria in Canada!
Today we have used the day to do a little bit of sightseeing and shopping. We visited Delville Woods just around the corner from our accommodation in Longuval. After which we went into Albert town centre. Visited the beautiful Basilica and an old Wenches favourite, the 3 Pigeons (a bar in Albert that used to be the headquarters of the French Resistance ). It has been a lovely relaxing day. We are now getting ready for a good nights sleep before our first day of walking tomorrow.

WW1 Field Hospital

We are very pleased to announce that Wenches In Trenches – Roses Of No Mans Land are now the proud owners of a WW1 Field Hospital. The hospital is complete with beds and instruments that would have been used by the medics during WW1.

We are able to attend events in the UK and Northern Europe in 2017 with the hospital and uniformed nurses.

If you feel that your event would benefit from having us there, or if you are a school that would like us to come and give a talk about the work of the Nurses & VADs then please contact sue@wenchesintrenches.co.uk for more information and our rates.

 

Somme 29th May

We have had a busy day on the Somme today. Starting with a visit to Lochnagar Crater to meet up with the ITV crew that are interviewing Head Wench Sue today. When we arrived their was a lot of activity onsite. As this is the ‘working weekend’ for the Friends Of Lochnagar. Strimming, clearing, cutting, burning, tidying and so much more to prepare the site for the summer visitors, it is all hands on deck for many volunteers who come across for this weekend.
Our interviewer Derek Johnson was standing at the bottom of the crater with his camera woman Siobhan. He looks quite out of place in his dark blue suit and deep red tie while everyone else around him was dressed in work clothing. We agree to meet up later to film the interview. In the meantime we go to check the progress of Wenches bench. It has been fully sanded and the coat of protective varnish is being applied as we arrive…it is looking very good.

We met up with Derek and Siobhan at Le Tommy’s Museum in Poizier for the interview. Owner Dominic kindly allowed us to film in the replica trenches that he has on his land. Sat with a backdrop of stretchers and poppies Sue told Derek all about her Grannie ‘Flossie’ who was the inspiration for Wenches In Trenches. The interview will form part of a series of items to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of The Somme on July 1st and will be shown on Meridian ITV. We will keep you updated with times etc

Somme Visit May 2016

Head Wench Sue and Wench Suzanna are in France at the moment finalising a few things for the Wenches Sponsored walk in September this year. Arriving yesterday they had a quick stop in Belgium to deliver some of the Wenches In Trenches – Roses Of No Mans Land books to The Grenadier Bookshop in Ypres. So if you are passing the bookshop pop in for a copy. You can also buy them direct from us for £6 +p&p, just drop us an email to order your copy.

Sue and Suzanna then made their way down to France. After a good nights sleep they headed up to Lochnagar Crater to see the team of Friends Of Lochnagar as they are giving the grounds a good clear up ready for the summer visitors. Lots of hedge cutting and grass trimming as well as a few repairs along the duckboards that surround the crater.
A couple of the volunteers are also giving the Wenches bench a spruce up. Sanding it down ready for a coat of protective varnish. Everyone is very busy this weekend.

After an afternoon catching up with Julie and David Thomson who run Number 56, a lovely B&B in La Boiselle and the base for this years walk, Sue and Suzanna head back to their accommodation for some food and an early night.
Tomorrow they are being interviewed for Meridian ITV at Lochnagar Crater.

Wenches In Trenches Book

We re delighted to announce that a book titled Wenches In Trenches, Roses Of No Mans Land by the talented Lucy London is now for sale through us. The book is volume one of a series that documents women casualties of the Great War in military cemeteries. This volume covers France and Belgium. There is a section in the book about Wenches In Trenches and how we came to be.

Stock is limited so hurry to avoid disappointment. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to Wenches In Trenches.

To purchase a copy please email your name and address to sue@wenchesintrenches.co.uk To make payment please go to our Paypal link. The cost is £8 (£6 + £2 p+p)

book

Talbot House Update

We are delighted to inform you that the refurbishments in the Nurse McFie room at Talbot House are now complete.
We were very pleased to have been able to give funds to Talbot House for these refurbishments.
The room is now open for reservations at Talbot House B&B. For more information please visit their website

nurse mcfie room

Two Places Available For Septembers Walk

Sadly due to time wasters we now have two places available on our sponsored walk in September.

Do you or someone you know want to take part in this event?

You need to be available from 29th September to 3rd October 2016.
You need to be able to pay the registration fee and raise the required amount of sponsorship.
You need to be physically fit.
You need to be female – sorry guys this is a girls only event.

If you wish to take part then please email suzanna@wenchesintrenches.co.uk

Please only reply if you are genuinely interested in taking part.

Cumbrian Challenge

Cumbrian Challenge 2016 logo - low resLast year we were very pleased to be approached by Walking With The Wounded to put a team forward for their brilliant 2016 Cumbrian Challenge.
“The Cumbrian Challenge is Walking With The Wounded’s fun and testing, flagship, annual fundraising event in the Lake District for teams of four – with every team that takes part supporting another wounded veteran back into work.”
Each team has to raise a minimum of £1000 and the money goes towards helping a wounded veteran get back into work.

To find out more about Walking With The Wounded please visit their website.

Our second in command, Suzanna, was very keen to take part and is the team leader for the event. Suzanna’s husband is a wounded veteran so this event is especially important for her. It did not take long to fill the other three places. Wenches Beverley, Tracey and Audrey make up the team with Tracey as the reserve. Everyone at Wenches In Trenches is very proud of them. The event takes place on 14th May 2016 and starts at Grasmere Sports Ground.

The ladies have chosen the ‘Tough’ route to complete. There are two other routes, ‘Peak’ and ‘Tougher’. All take in the beautiful and breathtaking scenery in and around Grasmere in the Lake District.
Their chosen route will take them on a 24km ( just under 15 miles) hike up the legendary fell run route out of Grasmere sports ground. They will loop round above Grasmere past the waterfalls to Easedale Tarn, up to the famous Langdale Pikes and scaling Harrison Stickle (736m). They will then drop along the Langdale Valley past Loughrigg back into Grasmere.  The team have up to 10 hours to complete the route, but we are sure they will complete it a lot quicker.

The team have all started training to make sure they are in the best possible fitness for the event. We will keep you all updated with their progress. We wish them all the best for their training and the event itself.

If you wish to help our team reach – or even beat – their £1000 target then please go to their fundraising page and make a donation.

If you wish to challenge them by getting together your own team then head to the Walking With The Wounded, Cumbria Challenge website and register your team….entry does not close until 1st May!

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2016 Walk – One Place Available

We have just received word that sadly one of our chosen walkers for this years sponsored walk along the battlefields of The Somme has had to pull out to due to ill health.
All of us at Wenches wish our walker a speedy recovery.

This does mean, however, that we now have 1 place available on this years walk.

If you feel you would like to take part and you are available from 29th September through to 3rd October and you can raise the sponsorship needed, then please email suzanna@wenchesintrenches.co.uk.

More information about this years walk can be found on the website
www.wenchesintrenches.co.uk

If you know anyone that would be interested then please pass the message on to them.
If you are interested then please get in touch as soon as possible.

Thank you

Talbot House Update

beverley_gall_2014-21

In 2014 our Wenches did their sponsored walk in Belgium. They visited the wonderful Talbot House in Poperinge where they were very popular among the guests. Dressed in their WW1 VAD and Nurse uniforms the wenches enjoyed a delicious breakfast before their walk.
Talbot house was one of the recipients of the funds raised that year. Wenches donated £1000 to Talbot House for the refurbishment of the Nurse McFie room. Sadly due to unforeseen circumstances the refurbishment had to be put on hold.

It is with great delight we are able to announce that finally the work will start on the refurbishment next week, with completion expected by the end of February this year.
We will hopefully have pictures to share once the room is complete.
Thank you to everyone that donated or sponsored a walker in 2014.

If you are interested in sponsoring a walker on this years walk in France please use the donate button at the top of every page on the website.

 

beverley_gall_2014-17beverley_gall_2014-19

Update On Our Christmas Appeal

As you may remember last year we ran our Christmas appeal for gift boxes for the Gurkhas who were deployed over the holidays. 1st RGR who were on operation Newcombe in Mali have now all left Africa. We have been supporting them for about 6 years. We sent parcels out to them filled with lovely goodies. We have just received a fantastic response from them thanking us and everyone that supported the appeal. They were delighted with the parcels.

We would like to say thank you to everyone that donated to the appeal, this is where your money and gifts went.

Here is a small selection of the pictures and letters we received at Wench HQ. We are looking forward to continuing our support of these wonderful soldiers

group

tea

xmas

santa

letters

ocletter

Registration Is Now Closed!

That’s it folks, time is up. Registration for this years sponsored walk along the battlefields of The Somme is now closed.

If you have registered your interest then keep an eye out in your inbox over the next few days.
We will be contacting everyone that has registered to let them know if they have been successful or not.

If you are one of the lucky first six then you will be receiving your registration forms along with a little bit more information about the walk.
Please make sure you fill them in and return them with your £350 registration fee by 1st March.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Good luck everyone

Registration Is Now Open

Registration for our 2016 sponsored walk is now open!

ONLY OPEN UNTILL 1ST FEBRUARY! Less than a week left to register.

We are changing the process a little this year. As we are only offering 6 places on this years walk we wanted a fair way to pick the participants. So this is how it will happen:

  1. Register your interest – email suzanna@wenchesintrenches.co.uk to register your interest.
    Please only do this if you are genuinely interested or able to take part. Dates for the trip are below. Please be aware this walk is not suitable for anyone with mobility problems due to the terrain of the battlefields. This is a women only walk…(sorry guys, but please keep an eye out as we may organise an event that you can take part in too)
  2. Registration will be open until 1st February 2016
  3. All registered names will be put into a ballot and 6 names will be chosen as the first participants.
  4. All remaining names will be drawn as standbys just incase any of the first 6 have to pull out for any reason.
  5. Everyone who has registered will be contacted in the first week of February. You will be informed if you are either a first or standby participant. First participants will also receive their registration documents.
  6. If any first participants cannot make the walk then the standby participants will be contacted and offered a place.
  7. The first participants will pay their registration fees and return their completed registration forms. All registration money and forms must be in by 1st March. If a participant fails to have their fees paid by then the next standby participant will be contacted and offered a place.
  8. Confirmation emails will be sent on receipt of payment. You will now receive your fundraising pack.
  9. Start your fundraising!

Ok, so now you need to know when the walk is and how much you need to pay.

The walk will take place as usual in France along the Battlefields of The Somme. This year we have a qualified guide for the duration of the walk who is also an avid historian, so you will learn lots of interesting facts about the battlefields as you walk them. Accommodation is on a half board basis. Please be aware the terrain of the battlefields is uneven and depending on the weather may be muddy and slippery. Due to this the walk is unsuitable for those with mobility problems. The terrain is also unsuitable for wheelchair users.  You will cover approximately 20-30km in total.
The dates you need to be available are from Thursday 29th September to Monday 3rd October 2016.

We will pick all participants up from Folkestone on the morning of Thursday 29th September at 9am. Participants will be dropped back at Folkestone on the afternoon of Monday 3rd October. It is your responsibility to make your own travel arrangements to and from Folkestone. All travel from Folkestone to France and back will be provided by Wenches In Trenches – Roses Of No Mans Land.

A registration fee of £350 is payable to secure your offered place.  This covers travel costs, accommodation costs, food that is included in the trip, guides costs and administration costs.

All participating walkers must raise a minimum of £500 each. This must be paid by 1st September 2016.

Once you have registered and paid your fee you will receive a confirmation email with more detailed information on the trip, including accommodation info, fundraising information and your kit list.

We look forward to an exclusive and exciting walk this year and we hope you can join us.

So to register your interest please email suzanna@wenchesintrenches.co.uk today!

Winter Newsletter

Welcome To Our Winter Newsletter

Welcome to the winter edition of the Wenches In Trenches – Roses Of No Mans Land newsletter.
We have been very busy at Wenches In Trenches since our last newsletter.

BLESSING THE BENCH
On July 1st head wench Sue and wenches Suzanna and Audrey travelled to The Somme to see the unveiling of our beautiful bench. After taking part in the dawn service at Lochnagar Crater they made their way to the site of our memorial, which was shrouded in a striking green tarpaulin. Waiting for everyone to gather felt like a very long time. Joined by a French Nurse, Sue, Suzanna and Audrey stood in front of the bench and held their breath. Finally the tarpaulin was lifted to reveal the handcrafted, 9 seater, semi-elipse bench. Each seat back centred with a red cross and the words ” In Memory Of The Nurses And VADs Of All Nations Who Served In The Great War” set across the top of the bench. The words repeated in French along the bottom. We are absolutely blown away with the bench and have to say a massive thank you to Vinnie for all his hard work. A huge thank you also to Richard, owner of the crater, and the friends of Lochnagar for all their help in getting the bench in place….and for being so good at not letting us peep!
We are so grateful for everyone that has sponsored or donated to Wenches In Trenches – Roses Of No Mans Land. We have achieved our first memorial bench, a very important and special moment for the whole team, but especially Head Wench Sue, whose Granny Isabella was the inspiration for the whole memorial project.

MEETING OUR PATRON

In August Wench Suzanna had the opportunity to meet one of our patrons, Simon Weston OBE at Durham Gala Theatre where he was giving his ‘My Life, My Story’ presentation
Sat in a packed out theatre Suzanna and her husband enjoyed an interview style show from Simon and BBC Broadcaster David Fitzgerald.  The show was honest, frank and often funny. A relaxed and informal look into Simon’s life. A must see if it comes to a venue near you.
After the show Simon took the time to meet Suzanna and her husband. He said he was delighted to be our patron and thought what we did was wonderful.


2015 SPONSORED WALK
In September we took a group of women to France for our annual sponsored walk. We had a smaller group this year but had just as much fun. We had a quick visit to Vimy Ridge Canadian Memorial on the way to our accommodation. A breath taking monument to the Canadian fallen of the Great War.



We were staying at Snowden House, a beautiful old farm house in Longuval. A perfect base for our walk.
Day one saw us starting at Sheffield Memorial Park, gathering around the Chorley Pals memorial we laid a poppy cross for them and wench Sue Mc said a few words. An eerie feeling to know that we were standing where nearly 100 years ago thousands of men lost their lives, some never even making it out of the trenches. After a look around the Railway Hollow Cemetery at the bottom of the park we walked the short distance across the field, that was a century ago no mans land, to the Queens Cemetery. We carried on visiting Serre Road, Beaumont Hamel, Redan Ridge, Munich Trench British Cemetery and The Sunken Road before heading to La Boiselle for lunch at Old Blighty Tearooms. Ending the day walking from Ance Cemetery to Newfoundland Park

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Day two of the walk started at Thiepval Memorial. A truly humbling memorial to the men who have no known grave. There are thousands of names engraved into the stone walls of this memorial. It really makes you appreciate the sacrifice these brave men made. We walked down the road towards La Boiselle stopping at Authuille Military Cemetery and Blighty Valley Cemetery. Passing Crucifix Corner we walked the last stretch of road up to La Boiselle. Stopping at The Tyneside Memorial so that Audrey could lay a poppy cross. Next stop Old Blighty Tea Rooms for lunch.

Just as we sat down to eat the heavens opened! It absolutely poured down. But we are the Wenches and it did not put us off one bit! So after lunch, and a quick hello to some of our lovely supporters, we made our way to Fricourt.
First stop Fricourt German Cemetery. A stark place filled with black crosses…and a few Jewish headstones. It seemed even more stark in this torrential rain. Next down the road to the Fricourt New Cemetery. A little bit of puddle jumping was involved along the way, it was great fun.
After Fricourt New Cemetery we retraced our steps a little back to the junction that takes us up towards Lochnagar Crater.

Tarmac for the first ten minutes of walking then the road turns into farm tracks. In this rain that meant lots of very slippery mud. It made us all appreciate what it must have been like for the men during the war having to live in the mud for all that time. It must have been horrendous.  We got very muddy, very quickly. We were really glad to see our support vehicle parked next to the crater in the distance. A last push on and we made it to our final stop, Lochnagar Crater. Drenched and tired but elated we had made it!  We have walked a total of 28km over the last two days.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all our supporters and followers, thank you to all who sponsored the walkers and donated along the way.
We have raised just over £3000.

 

DONATIONS
We are very pleased to have been able to make donations to the following causes over the last few months.
Blue Apple Charity – Donation towards the Veterans Respite trip to Avimore over the Bonfire weekend.
Socks & Chocks – Donation towards the purchase of sleeping bags for homeless veterans.
St Peter’s Court – Donation towards the veterans Xmas lunch.
Gurkha Welfare Trust – Donation to the Trust

POPPY COLLECTION
We were very pleased to be asked to work alongside Sainsbury’s in Penzance for their Poppy appeal display. Head wench Sue R worked very hard on the display, even using one of our fabulous uniforms. Various supporters then took part in manning the stand to collect for the Poppy Appeal. We are very pleased to say that the total collected at the store was £6,895

YORKSHIRE TEA
We are always looking for companies and organisations that can support us on our events. Over the years we have been sponsored by many companies. We could not do as much as we do without the invaluable help of our supporters.
We are extremely pleased to announce our latest sponsor….. Yorkshire Tea
We will most definitely enjoy the first ‘package’ of support from Yorkshire Tea…a huge box of teabags!
Yorkshire Tea the Wenches thank you whole heartedly

ARMISTICE DAY
In November head wench Sue R and wench Suzanna travelled to France to take part in the Armistice Day events on The Somme. Taking part in ceremonies at memorials and cemeteries in and around La Boiselle it was a honour to have been invited. Ending their day with a wreath laying service at Lochnagar Crater.

We cannot mention our trip to France without sending our thoughts out to all those that were killed or injured in the attacks in Paris. We had returned to the UK 2 days early as we had meetings to attend in Portsmouth. We arrived back in the UK on the day before the horrible attacks. We were horrified to see what was happening. We are thinking of all those affected by the tragic events.
FELLOWSHIP
It is with great pleasure that we announce head wench Sue R has been awarded with a Fellowship to the Royal Society for Arts. Sue has been nominated and accepted to the RSA for her tireless work for charity over the last 20 odd years. Well done Sue, we are all so very proud of you.
GURKHA APPEAL
Over the years Wenches have sent parcels out to the troops abroad over the christmas period. Just a few little treats to remind the troops that they are thought of over the holiday period. This year we have chosen the 1st Royal Gurkha Regiment, who are on deployment overseas.
We have worked very hard collecting goodies to send out to the Gurkhas.  At the beginning of December 30 parcels were sent from Wenches HQ in Penzance. There were also a few more parcels sent from other coordinators across the country.
We are happy to say that all parcels were received and the Gurkhas were very pleased with the treats we sent. We would like to thank everyone that helped with the parcels. We would like to say a special thank you to all the staff at the Taj Mahal in Penzance for supporting us with a fabulous curry night in November.
COMING UP NEXT YEAR

CUMBRIA CHALLENGE
When we were contacted by Walking With The Wounded this year to put a team together for their Cumbria Challenge we were delighted to accept. Taking place in Grasmere in the beautiful Lake District, our team will be tackling the ‘Tough’ 22km route.
The team will be raising money for Walking With The Wounded. If you wish to sponsor the team please visit their fundraising page http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/wenchescumbriachallenge
Our team are Suzanna, Beverley, Justine and Audrey. Good luck ladies x
RAY LONSDALE
After the walk had finished this year head wench Sue R made the journey up to the North East of England to spend some time with wench Suzanna and her family. During the visit Suzanna and her husband Simon took Sue to see a magnificent work of art in the town of Seaham. A 9ft high steel WW1 solider affectionately known as Tommy. His given title is ‘Eleven ‘O’ One’ as he represents a soldier sitting down at one minute past eleven on Armistice Day. After seeing this amazing piece of art Sue expressed how wonderful it would be to have a Nurse or VAD made by the creator of Tommy, Ray Lonsdale.
Suzanna agreed and after Sue had returned home to Cornwall made contact with Ray. After a few emails Suzanna and her husband went to meet Ray at his studio not far from where they live.
They came away from the meeting with Ray onside and very keen to help us achieve our dream of a Nurse or VAD made in steel. Now we need to find the perfect location for her so we can begin the task of raising the funds. We will keep you updated as the process progresses.

2016 WALK
We are already making plans for our 2016 sponsored walk. Our accommodation is reserved and the dates are set. This time we will only be taking 6 walkers so the process to secure a place will be a little different than previous years. More information will be given in January when we open the registration for the walk.

All that remains is for us to say thank you so much to everyone that has supported us this year. Thank you to all our sponsors. Thank you to all the fundraisers and walkers. Thank you to the Wenches staff for all your hard work.
We wish you all a very merry christmas and a prosperous new year.

MERRY XMAS from all at Wenches In Trenches – Roses Of No Mans Land

Christmas Appeal

Today marks the start of our Christmas Appeal. This year our appeal will be for our Gurkhas who are serving abroad. We will be sending Christmas gift boxes out to our Gurkhas. Anything left over once the box quota is filled will be paid to Gurkha Welfare Trust.

We will also be holding a curry night at The Taj Mahal in Penzance on Tuesday 24th November from 6.30pm. For a fantastic price of only £18 for 3 courses.
If you are in the area please come along and help us to raise some funds towards the appeal. Of course you will also get to enjoy some delicious food too!

We can accept donations of small items such as chocolate, sweets, dried fruit eg apricots, small christmas cards. If you are near Penzance please contact sue@wenchesintrenches.co.uk to arrange collection. Please no alcohol, cigarettes or aerosols allowed. If you prefer you can donate money and we will make up a box for you. You can use the donate button at the bottom of this page. Please be generous and help us make their christmas special. Thank you

THIS APPEAL IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you to all those who donated.

We Made It

A slight change of plan this morning after looking at the weather. We were due to start the last day of our walk at Delville Wood, but have decided to swap the morning and afternoon itinerary around. So our first port of call today was Thiepval Memorial. A truly humbling memorial to the men who have no known grave. There are thousands of names engraved into the stone walls of this memorial. It really makes you appreciate the sacrifice these brave men made.
We had a walk round the memorial, or as best we could as it is covered in scaffolding at the moment. We laid some poppy crosses and then took a look inside the visitor centre before setting off on todays route.

We walked down the road towards La Boiselle stopping at Authuille Military Cemetery and Blighty Valley Cemetery. We were passed by many runners who were taking part in a half marathon today. We gave them lots of encouragement as they passed us. The clouds were getting fuller and darker as we progressed along the road.
Passing Crucifix Corner we walked the last stretch of road up to La Boiselle. Stopping at The Tyneside Memorial so that Audrey could lay a poppy cross. Next stop Old Blighty Tea Rooms for lunch.

Just as we sat down to eat the heavens opened! It absolutely poured down. But we are the Wenches and it did not put us off one bit. So after lunch, and a quick hello to some of our lovely supporters, we made our way to Fricourt.
First stop Fricourt German Cemetery. A stark place filled with black crosses…and a few Jewish headstones. It seemed even more stark in this torrential rain. Next down the road to the Fricourt New Cemetery. A little bit of puddle jumping was involved along the way, it was great fun.

After Fricourt New Cemetery we retraced our steps a little back to the junction that takes us up towards Lochnagar Crater.
Tarmac for the first ten minutes of walking then the road turns into farm tracks. In this rain that meant lots of very slippery mud. It made us all appreciate what it must have been like for the men during the war having to live in the mud for all that time. It must have been horrendous.  We got very muddy, very quickly. We were very glad to see our support vehicle parked next to the crater in the distance. A last push on and we made it to our final stop, Lochnagar Crater. We have walked a total of 28km over the last two days.

We were met at the crater by more supporters and friends of Lochnagar to help us lay a wreath at our bench. We are very proud of all the walkers who have taken part in this years walk. They have all done amazingly, even with some injuries. Well done to you all and thank you so much for taking the time to take part. Thank you to all our supporters and everyone that has donated or sponsored a walker. Now we are all going for a nice hot shower and a well deserved drink.

We will have our newsletter very soon with the totals raised, so please keep an eye out in your inboxes. If you have not yet subscribed please just add your email address to the link on any of the pages of the website.

Day One Of Walk Complete

An early start for us all today, breakfast and a cuppa then in the van and out to Sheffield Memorial Park for the start of day one of our sponsored walk. Gathering around the Chorley Pals memorial we laid a poppy cross for them and wench Sue Mc said a few words. We had a walk around the park, which was once the trenches on one side of no mans land. An eerie feeling to know that we were standing where nearly 100 years ago thousands of men lost their lives, some never even making it out of these trenches. After a look around the Railway Hollow Cemetery at the bottom of the park we walked the short distance across the field, that was a century ago no mans land, to the Queens Cemetery. Here we laid another poppy cross to family members of a follower of wenches that are buried there.

Next we made our way along the track back towards the Serre Road. Once on the road we visited the Serre Road No1 Cemetery, across the road a beautiful little French Chapel. We then made our way along the track that leads to Beaumont Hamel. Passing the Redan Ridge Cemeteries. Going through Beaumont Hamel we carried on up to  Munich Trench British Cemetery. This had been a German trench that had been captured by the 7th division on the 7th January 1917.
We then headed back down to Beaumont Hamel and on towards the Sunken Road. Here we were met by head wench Sue R and our driver. After a walk up to Hawthorn Crater, which is just over the road, and a visit to the Beaumont Hamel Cemetery we set off to La Boiselle for lunch.

Lunch was provided by Alison at Old Blighty Tea Rooms. Alison is good friend to us at Wenches and a very loyal supporter of the Friends of Lochnagar Crater. We are very grateful for her support (and delicious food) Thank you Alison.

After a rest, some food and a lovely cuppa we made our way to the Ancre Cemetery for the second half of todays walk. The Ancre Cemetery is a beautiful place and so we spent a bit more time here. Laying some poppy crosses on a few chosen headstones.
We then started our long walk to Newfoundland Park. This is a large Canadian memorial park. Much of the ground at the park has been untouched since the war. The scars on the ground clearly visible. Here we walked through the trenches and saw 3 separate cemeteries. Y Ravine, Hunters and Hawthorn Ridge No2. There is also the memorial to the 51st Highland Division and an impressive Newfoundland Caribou memorial to the missing.

This was the end of todays walk. We are all very tired but exhilarated from what we have seen. We are very humbled and glad that we have had the opportunity to take part in this walk. Now we need a good hot shower, some food and a well deserved drink! We will of course get plenty of rest for our walk tomorrow.

We start tomorrow 9am at Delville Woods. We will be calling at Fricourt, Lochnagar Crater and Theipval throughout the day. So if you are passing any of these please keep an eye out for our red Tshirts, come say Hi…and drop some coins in our collection tin!

First Day On The Somme

An early start from Dover Premier Inn to the Ferry port this morning. All excited about the days ahead. A calm crossing on the ferry..thankfully, and we arrive in France. The weather is glorious.
After a quick fuel stop we head to Vimy Ridge Canadian Memorial. A breathtaking work of art dedicated to the men of Canada that lost their lives during WW1. The pictures do not give this stunning memorial justice.

We then continued our journey to Longuval where we are staying during our time in France. Snowden house is a lovely little farm house that can accommodate up to 14 people. We are only 9 so we have loads of room. Some time to have a look around and unpack for us all then back out to get some supplies from the Supermarket in Albert.

We could not go past Albert without stopping off at Lochnagar Crater to see our beautiful bench. As only a few of us have seen it, it was only fitting that the rest of the group see it. Everyone was thrilled with it. It looks just as lovely as we remembered, even more so in the evening light.
We will be back at the crater on Sunday at out half way point of that days walk.

Time for tea now so we headed into Poizier to Tommy’s, a lovely restaurant/museum. A very delicious meal was had by all.
We then headed back to the house to unpack our shopping and relax for the rest of the evening.

Tomorrow we start our walk at Sheffield Memorial Park at 9am. We will be passing among other places Redan Ridge, The Sunken Road and Ance Cemetary. The walk for the day ending at Newfoundland Park. So if you happen to be at any of these please say Hi if you see us…and drop a few euro in our collection tin!

First Leg Of Trip Complete

We have had a very long and tiresome day, but we are here, in Dover. Wenches have travelled from all over the country to meet up for our trip to France. Most of us set off this morning from Penzance, picking up Wenches along the way. We are just waiting for one more Wench to arrive then the contingent is complete.
We have had travel sickness, roadworks, wasps, crazy drivers and lots of laughs during the 8 hour journey. We finally arrived just after 5pm, tired and aching…partly from laughing, partly from the very upright seats in the van.

Once settled into our rooms we could relax for the evening. Meeting up in the Brewers Fayre restaurant next door we had a magnificent evening meal together. Sadly our missing wench is stuck in traffic on the M25, but she will join us later.
Now relaxing again for the night, ready for an early start tomorrow. Lets just hope the weather holds out for the duration of our walk.

Last Minute Place Available

Due to illness, unfortunately one of our lovely Wenches has had to pull out of this years sponsored walk. We all wish our dear friend a speedy recovery, she will be missed this year.

This means that we have now got one spot available for this years walk. So if you fancy joining us please email suzanna@wenchesintrenches.co.uk

What you need to know if you are seriously interested:

You need to be free from 11th – 15th September
You need to be at Dover Premier Inn for 7.30am on the morning of the 11th September ( or the 10th if you wish to stay overnight as the rest of us are )
You need to pay a non – refundable registration fee of £100 and accommodation fees of £90 asap
You need to raise a further £400 in sponsorship by the time we leave ( all sponsor money has to be collected and paid by 15th October )
You need to have a valid passport
You need to be a woman ( sorry guys, this is an all female walk )

If you think you can manage all of this and are genuinely interested please email suzanna@wenchesintrenches.co.uk asap

This is a last minute opportunity to join us for this years sponsored walk along the battlefields of The Somme in France. It will be a brilliant walk while raising funds to honour the Nurses and VAD’s of WW1

 

Not Long To Go

It is only a few weeks now until the Wenches make the trip to The Somme to do this years sponsored walk.
Our ladies have been busy fundraising and gathering sponsorship for the walk. We would like to thank everyone that has been generous enough to donate or sponsor one of our walkers. We really appreciate your help.

If you have not yet donated or if you wish to sponsor a walker there is still time. Every penny counts.
You can go along to our Virgin Giving page and either donate directly to the fund or if you scroll to the bottom of the page you can pick an individual walker to sponsor. There are links to each walker’s personal fundraising pages next to their names.

We will be keeping you all updated daily once we depart for France. If you are going to be on The Somme while we are there why not pop along and say Hi. We will let you all know where we are going to be when we are over there.

 

Meeting Simon Weston OBE

Suzanna with Simon WestonIt has only been a few months since military veteran Simon Weston OBE agreed to be our patron. Simon is well know for his charity work and recovery after suffering severe burns from the bombing of the Sir Gallahad during the Falklands war in 1982.

On Saturday 8th August Wench Suzanna had the opportunity to meet Simon Weston OBE at Durham Gala Theatre where he was giving his ‘My Life, My Story’ presentation
Sat in a packed out theatre they enjoyed an interview style show from Simon and BBC Broadcaster David Fitzgerald.  The show was honest, frank and often funny. A relaxed and informal look into Simon’s life. A must see if it comes to a venue near you.

After the show Simon took the time to meet Suzanna and her husband. He said he was delighted to be our patron and thought what we did was wonderful.

www.simonweston.com

Tea Dance – 8th August

Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 19.54.06On Saturday 8th August we will be hosting a fabulous afternoon of dancing

Come along and enjoy a fantastic Tea Dance to help us raise funds for our Roses Of No Mans Land Project.
There will be tea, coffee, cakes (plus a few more treats) and a raffle

Venue: Paul Village Hall, Paul, Cornwall

Doors open 2pm
Admission is £3 per person

We look forward to seeing you there.

Memorial Bench Finally Unveiled

We have just returned to our accommodation after spending the morning at Lochnagar Crater for the July 1st ceremony. We proudly laid a wreath during the ceremony on behalf of all the Nurses and VADs of WW1. The service was very nice and there were lots of people attending from all over the world. We even saw 2 young ladies dressed as French Nurses, they also joined us for the wreath laying ceremony.

Once the wreath laying was complete everyone on site took part in the throwing of the poppy petals in the crater. Everyone took handfuls of poppy petals and threw them into the crater. A beautiful sight.
Once this was done everyone holds hands in a chain around the whole perimeter of the crater.

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After the service there was 2 smaller ceremonies. One for the RAF Mountain Rescue team in Scotland. The second was for the unveiling and blessing of our first memorial bench. This we were very excited to see after months of secrecy from Vinnie, the carpenter. While the service for RAF Mountain Rescue was underway we were interviewed for French TV! We were also interviewed and photographed by an Australian journalist for Western Australian News.

wenchesfrance0615_104wenchesfrance0615_115Once we were ready everyone made their way to the site of our memorial, which was shrouded in a striking green tarpaulin. Waiting for everyone to gather felt like a very long time. Joined by a French Nurse, Sue R, Suzanna and Audrey stood in front of the bench and held their breath. Finally the tarpaulin was lifted to reveal the handcrafted, 9 seater, semi-elipse bench. Each seat back centred with a red cross and the words ” In Memory Of The Nurses And VADs Of All Nations Who Served In The Great War” set across the top of the bench. The words repeated in French along the bottom.

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We were all so pleased with the bench. We have to say a massive thank you to Vinnie, who gave his time and skills for free to craft this beautiful bench for us.
We laid a wreath on the bench for the Nurses & VADs from all at Wenches, then sat for the first time on the bench. The Chaplin of Lochnagar said a small blessing for the bench and Sue R gave a small speech of thanks to everyone that has helped to get this project done.wenchesfrance0615_116

After lots and lots of photographs from many of the bystanders we thought we were done. Then Richard Dunning, who owns the Crater, stepped forward and gave another small speech then presented Sue R with an amazing wooden plaque. Beautifully carved by one of the Lochnagar team, Tim, it depicts a scene of Nurses aiding a wounded soldier.

We are so grateful for everyone that has sponsored or donated to Wenches In Trenches – Roses Of No Mans Land. We have achieved our first memorial bench, a very important and special moment for the whole team, but especially Head Wench Sue, whose Granny Isabella was the inspiration for the whole memorial project.

We now have to focus on the granite memorial that will be placed at the site next year.wenchesfrance0615_111

Memorial Bench Update

Yesterday Head Wench Sue R and Wenches Suzanna & Audrey travelled across to The Somme to check on the progress of our first memorial bench. So far the team at Lochnagar Crater, where the bench is being placed, have been very secretive. We have still not been allowed to see the bench. It is being placed today but we are  not allowed to see it before the blessing ceremony tomorrow morning. The wait is unbearable, but we know it will be worth it. So we have been busy just settling into our accommodation and last night we went for a lovely meal with the Friends Of Lochnagar. There were about 50 people there altogether, it was a fab night.

Today we are very busy with finalising of the route and details for September’s sponsored walk. Then we have a fun afternoon of ironing on the cards…lots of uniforms to prepare for the ceremony tomorrow morning.
We will be at Lochnagar Crater from 6am tomorrow so if anyone is in the area and wants to pop along to support us with the blessing and dedication of our first memorial bench, please do. We look forward to seeing you there.

Fully booked

We are very pleased to announce that we are now fully booked for this years walk.
Congratulations if you have been lucky enough to secure your place. We are very sorry to those of you have unfortunately not managed to get a place for this year. We are keeping a list for those of you who are still interested just incase anyone has to drop out before we go.

To those of you who are walking this year there will be an email soon with more information about your itinerary, kit list and anything else we think you need to know. We are really looking forward to meeting you all in September.
For now you just all need to get moving with your sponsorship. Anyone that has not yet set up a Virgin Giving Fundraising page please get in touch for instructions.

If you want to beat the rush and secure your place for next years walk then please email the team to register your interest.

New Newsletter

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Welcome to the latest newsletter from Wenches In Trenches – Roses of No Mans land

It is really good to see so many interested in what we are up to here at Roses Of No Mans Land. We have been very busy since our last newsletter. We have been working hard on preparing things for this years sponsored walk in France and spreading the word about Wenches In Trenches – Roses of No Mans Land.

DONATIONS
Since the last newsletter we have made a few donations to some worthwhile causes. A couple of which were £1000 to Talbot House, Ypres, Belgium. This was to help with the refurbishment of the Nurse McVeigh room. Once the room is finished we will have some pictures to share.
We also donated £200 to Blue Apple Heroes in Warrington. This was to help towards the cost of a weekend respite break for some of their Veterans who suffer with PTSD. Blue Apple took a group of them up to Scotland over the Bonfire weekend to have a quiet retreat away from all the noise of the fireworks. The fireworks create a terrible trigger for some veterans with PTSD.

A TRENCH IN A CHURCH

Paul Church in Penzance asked for the help from Wenches to build a trench inside the church as part of their Remembrance events. Once complete school children visited the trench and were given a taste of life in the trenches. Sue R and Sue Mc were there in uniform to speak to the children about what it might have been like in the trenches.

REMBERANCE NOVEMBER 2014

In November last year Head Wench Sue R and wench Sue Mc travelled across to La Boiselle in France to take part in the Sing For Your Supper evening. Hosted by the Somme branch of The Royal British Legion. A fantastic night of music and food on the eve of Remembrance day.
The next day both took part in the Remembrance service at Lochnagar Crater, laying a wreath on behalf of the Wenches In Trenches – Roses of No Mans Land.

HOUSE OF COMMONS VISIT

In March of this year we were very honoured to be asked to attend an event at The House Of Commons for The National Nursing Memorial Appeal. The evening was hosted by the Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP.  Head Wench Sue R and Wench Beverley travelled to London to represent us all.
Among the guest speakers was Baroness Shirley Williams, whose mother Vera Britain was a VAD in WW1… a truly inspirational woman!

PATRONS

In April we were pleased to announce that we had welcomed on board our first Patron. Falklands Veteran Simon Weston MBE, swiftly followed by our second patron writer Sarah Phelps. Simons mother was a nurse so he has an interest in what we do. Sarah wrote the fantastic drama The Crimson Field, a tale of some of the VADs from WW1. We are extremely honoured to welcome both to our team

PAINTING FOR US

We were approached by a lovely lady called Helen Chester, an artist from Wiltshire. She offered to paint us a picture that we could then sell to raise funds. Obviously we jumped at the chance to have a painting by Helen, who specialises in military themed art. We were very pleased with the picture that Helen has donated. We just need to sell it now. so if you are interested in owning this fabulous work of art then please get in touch. This original framed painting is available for £300 +p&p

UPDATE ON MEMORIAL BENCH

In May Head Wench Sue R and Second in command Suzanna travelled to France for some meetings with the team from Lochnagar Crater. The purpose of the trip was to check on the progress of the memorial bench and finalise details for the sponsored walk in September.
They had hoped to see the memorial bench being set up onsite ready for the blessing ceremony on 1st July, but the builder had not quite finished . So we will have to wait until July to see the bench along with everyone else. The bench has been handmade by Yorkshire carpenter Vinnie Felstead, a friend of Lochnagar. We are extremely grateful to Vinnie for his time and skill in making this amazing memorial.
At the end of June a few wenches including Sue R and Suzanna will make the journey again to take part in the dawn service at Lochnagar on 1st July. The bench will be finished and all set up for this and the Padre from Lochnagar will bless the bench. The ladies will be in full uniform for this event. It will be an amazing experience and we are so proud to finally have our first memorial bench in place.

A lot of progress was also made with the preparations for the sponsored walk this year. this is going to be a brilliant event.

CHARITY STATUS
Our transition to full charity status is well underway. We will keep you informed as things progress. Unfortunately this is not a quick process.

That is all from us at Roses of No Mans Land for now. We will keep you all updated via our website so please keep an eye out for more news. We hope you all have a fabulous summer and we will have a new newsletter for you at the end of the year.

If you wish to donate to the Wenches In Trenches- Roses of No Mans Land or to sponsor a Wench for this years sponsored walk please pop over to our Virgin Giving page and click the Donate Now button

uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/rosesofnomansland

www.wenchesintrenches.co.uk

Update On Memorial Bench

In May Head Wench Sue R and Second in command Suzanna travelled to France for some meetings with the team from Lochnagar Crater. The purpose of the trip was to check on the progress of the memorial bench and finalise details for the sponsored walk in September.
They had hoped to see the memorial bench being set up onsite ready for the blessing ceremony on 1st July, but the builder had not quite finished . So we they will have to wait until July to see the bench along with every else. The bench has been handmade by Yorkshire carpenter Vinnie Felstead, a friend of Lochnagar. We are extremely grateful to Vinnie for his time and skill in making this amazing memorial.
At the end of June a few wenches including Sue R and Suzanna will make the journey again to take part in the dawn service at Lochnagar on 1st July. The bench will be finished and all set up for this and the Padre from Lochnagar will bless the bench. The ladies will be in full uniform for this event. It will be an amazing experience and we are so proud to finally have our first memorial bench in place.

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Beautiful Painting For Sale

wenches pictureWe have been very lucky to have been donated a beautiful framed painting by Wiltshire military artist Helen Chester.
This unique painting has been painted especially for us to sell to raise funds. We are over the moon with the painting.

If you would like to own this original one off framed painting it is being sold for the very reasonable price of £300 (+p&p) This is an excellent opportunity to own a piece of artwork by a very talented lady while supporting us too.

We would like to thank Helen for taking time out of her schedule to paint this for us.

To view more of Helens work please visit her website

 

If you are interested in purchasing the painting please contact us by emailing suzanna@wenchesintrenches.co.uk

Second Patron

IMG_3899We are extremely proud to announce that our second patron is confirmed as writer Sarah Phelps.
Sarah is the talented writer of WW1 Drama, The Crimson Field. A wonderful dramatisation of the lives of the VADs of WW1.
Sarah is also a regular writer on the soap Eastenders

Sarah has been a wonderful support to the Wenches and we are so very honoured that she has agreed to be our patron.

We welcome Sarah with much heartfelt thanks from all the Wenches.

Sarah says “I’m so proud to be a patron of the organisation Roses of No Man’s Land, honouring and remembering the extraordinary courage and passionate dedication of the military, civilian and volunteer nurses of World War 1”
(picture courtesy of Dan Hall)

New Patron

We are extremely proud to finally announce that Falklands Veteran Simon Weston OBE has agreed to be our patron. We have been working on this for a little while and over the last few days we have received final confirmation from Simon.

We would like to send a huge Wenches welcome to Simon and thank him for becoming part of the team.

You can follow Simon on his website

Here is a little note from Simon

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Visit To House Of Commons

Baroness Shirley WilliamsWe are very proud that we were recently asked to attend an event at The Houses Of Commons for The National Nursing Memorial Appeal. Head Wench Sue and fellow Wench Beverley travelled to London as guests for the function.

The evening was hosted by the Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP and among the speakers was Baroness Shirley Williams, whose mother Vera Britian was a VAD in WW1. A truly inspirational woman!

We have agreed to offer our help as fundraisers for this fantastic appeal. As part of our fundraising efforts this year a donation will be made from Wenches In Trenches to the Nursing Memorial Appeal.

If you wish to make a donation please visit our Virgin Giving page

New Fundraising Page Now Live

VMG_Logo_Stk_PosWe are pleased to announce that our new fundraising page is now live.

We have set up a page on Virgin Giving so that all our walkers can collect donations and sponsorship easily. This also means that if you wish to support our cause without sponsoring a specific walker you can.
Just pop along to our Virgin Giving page and make a donation. It only takes a few minutes.

We also have a link to our page on every page of the website.

Please help us to reach our target for the Roses Of No Mans Land Campaign. Every penny counts.

 

Registration Is Open

openWe are pleased to announce that registration is now open for participants of this years sponsored walk.

The walk will take place from 11th to 15th September and will be held in France, taking in The Somme Battlefields.

If you wish to take part please contact us asap as places are strictly limited and given on a first booked basis.

To request a registration pack please use the CONTACT  page or email suzanna@wenchesintrenches.co.uk

Hurry and book your place for an unforgettable adventure.

Registration For Somme Walk

303250_10151170473668856_1177928013_nRegistration to enter our 2015 sponsored walk will open tomorrow morning ( Monday 5th Jan )

 

The walk will take place on 11th – 15th September 2015 and will take in the battlefields of The Somme. Our base for the walk will be the stunning Snowden House
This will be a fantastic opportunity to have some fun with some great company while visiting a very special area and raising money for a really worthwhile cause.

If you would like to register your interest, or book your place please email suzanna@wenchesintrenches to request your registration pack.

Places are limited so don’t delay.

Our First Newsletter

Welcome to the first official newsletter from The Wenches in Trenches!

The ‘Wenches’ are a wonderful bunch of ladies from all walks of life, united in their unwavering support of raising awareness and funds for military related causes.  Through these pages we will provide our supporters with a regular quarterly round up of our charity focus and fundraising initiatives.

The Roses of No Man’s Land

In 2014 – to coincide with the centenary of the start of WW1 – we took a big leap forward and launched a fundraising campaign under the charity banner of The Roses of No Man’s Land.  

The campaign will run for a total of four years (the duration of the Great War) with the ultimate aim of creating lasting memorials to the Nurses and VAD’s who served alongside our troops.  In our view, they are among the many unsung heroes from that time, and without whom, many more husbands, sons and fathers would not have returned home alive.

Along the way we will also:-  

Raise awareness of the wonderful work of the Nurses and VAD’s of WW1 & WW2.

Raise funds for worthwhile projects and causes that align with The Roses of No Man’s Land campaign

Assist with funding for projects directly associated with the conflicts of WW1 & WW2

Help individuals who have been affected by life-changing injuries and illnesses received during service to their country, to enrich their lives

What have we achieved so far?

In September, after many months of planning and organisation, the Wenches set off from England on a very special mission to lay wreaths at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.  Dressed head to toe in replica nurse’s uniforms from 1914, the ladies stopped along the way to pay their respects to victims of WW1 at battlefield cemeteries in France and across Belgium.

As you can imagine the wreath laying ceremony at the Menin Gate was extremely moving, and our Wenches – in their WW1 uniforms – were a very poignant addition to the many tributes that day.

We are extremely delighted to announce the total sum raised from our walk is £7,377

Thank you to all of you who supported us on this very special journey, be it through financial donations or the giving of time or services, with particular thanks to:-

The volunteers at the Giving Shop in Penzance, Cornwall, for making our nurses uniforms

Vospers UK for donating a mini bus to transport us to Ypres

Our good friends in Ypres: Talbot House for providing us with a welcome and hearty breakfast, and The Ariane Hotel for their very generous gift of wonderful food, refreshments, and a well-deserved rest!

You can read more about this special journey by visiting our website www.wenchesintrenches.co.uk

Talbot House

As a result of the funds raised from this year’s walk, we have been able to donate €1000 towards the refurbishment of Nurse Mcvie room at Talbot House in Ypres, Belgium.

Talbot House dates back to the 18th Century and in 1915, after the house was struck by a German shell, the house was rented to the 6th division of the British army.  Army Chaplain Philip “Tubby” Clayton opened a soldier’s club at the house as an alternative to the controversial nightlife in the city, making sure it provided a welcoming atmosphere for all, regardless of rank or status.

The club was named “Talbot House” after Gilbert Talbot, who died in battle on 30th July 1915.  Talbot became symbolic of the generation of young men who sacrificed their lives, and we are honoured to be able to contribute towards the upkeep of such an historic building.

http://www.talbothouse.be/en/museum/home 

A Return to the Somme in 2015

At the end of June 2015 a small number of Wenches will be attending The Somme Ball. This is a spectacular event and it is a great honour to be invited again. The ball precedes a very special dawn service at Lognagar Crater.

Whilst our fundraising is not restricted solely to sponsored walks, our Wenches take great pride in having the opportunity to honour those who sacrificed their lives during WW1 and WW2, and we will continue to journey across the battlefields to pay our respects.

In September 2015 we will once again visit the Somme, and lay a wreath at Thiepval Memorial. If you wish to take part in this walk please keep an eye out on our website for more information.

Lochnagar Memorial

We are proud to announce that we have secured permission for the installation of our first lasting memorial, which will be situated at Lochnagar Crater on the Somme.  This memorial will honour Nurses, VAD’s and medical personnel of all nationalities who served during WW1.

In November two of our Wenches made the trip to the Somme for the Remembrance Service at Lochnagar. While there they were able to mark out the site of the memorial and get some basic plans in motion. Keep checking back for more information as the project progresses.

For more information about Lochnagar Crater please visit the official website www.lochnagarcrater.org  

Onwards and upwards!

We have had a wonderful start to the Roses of No Man’s Land campaign, and we will continue to build on this success. In January 2015 we will forge ahead with planning further fundraising events and will announce these in due course.

We hope that 2015 and beyond will be as successful as 2014. We look forward to meeting new ‘Wenches’ next year as well as those who have been with us on previous events. We continue to need your support and we thank you in advance.

So for now we wish all our members and supporters old and new a very merry christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

Wenches In Trenches

Newsletter

We will shortly be sending out our first newsletter. It is almost ready. Once this first one is done and sent we will be sending a newsletter out quarterly with lots of information on how our projects are progressing, new totals, any new projects that are upcoming and any other exciting news happening here at Wenches In Trenches.

To receive our newsletters please use our contact form to register your email address

And The Grand Total So Far…..

We are very pleased to announce that after all donations and sponsorship has been collected and counted, the grand total raised from The Roses Of No Mans Land Walk 2014 is…..

£7,377

Well done to all the walkers for your fantastic fundraising, Thank you to everyone that donated or sponsored a walker.

Please accept our heartfelt thanks to you all for such a tremendous effort.

But….. don’t forget that this is just the first stage of our 4 year plan, so keep your fundraising hats on everyone as we will still need your help.
For now though give yourselves a big pat on the back..you deserve it!

Update On This Years Walk

suzanna_-21We are just waiting for a few more sponsorships to come into Wenches HQ and then we will be able to announce the amount raised from this years walk. We are quite pleased with what has come in so far..but we need you to be patient just a few more weeks.
We will also have news of some of the developments at Wenches since we returned from the walk. There is lots of exciting things happening.

One of the things that we will be rolling out in the next few weeks is a quarterly Newsletter. You will be able to subscribe to this in the next few weeks and we will then keep you updated on all that is happening.

So keep an eye on the website and once the technical bits are done a post will go up with all the details

Lochnagar Crater Memorial

lochnagar craterAs you know our mission over the next 3 years is to get a lasting memorial to the Nurses and VAD’s of WW1. We are extremely proud to announce that we have secured permission for one such memorial.  Our memorial will be situated at Lochnagar Crater on the Somme. This is a wonderful honour for us to have been given permission to place a memorial at Lochnagar.

This memorial will honour all Nurses, VAD’s and medical personnel that served in WW1, no matter their nationality. We hope to have the unveiling of this memorial on 1st July 2016 which will be the  100th anniversary.

For more information about Lochnagar Crater visit their website HERE

To donate to help us raise the funds to complete this memorial please visit HERE

Tower Poppies

We are very proud of Wench Beverley. She has taken part in the ‘planting’ of some of the ceramic poppies at The Tower of London.
Beverley is a member of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps and went along with a contingent of QARANC’s to plant some of the poppies. They are being planted to commemorate WW1. It is a great honour to take part and we are very proud of Beverley and her fellow nurses.

Wenches In A Trench

10649710_10152744093883856_2126040384247876633_nWe are very pleased to have been invited by The Church of St Pol De Leon in Paul village, Penzance to advise on a trench recreation for them. We will also have some our Wenches attending the trench dressed in WW1 Uniforms.
Head Wench Sue R and Wench Sue Mc will be at the Church from the Thursday before Remembrance Day to chat about ww1 VADs and nurses.
Please come along if you are in the area and have a chat with them.

Last Post Ceremony

Sunday evening and we have rested from our walk today. We have all changed back into our uniforms and after a quick practice of our formation we line up and start our walk through the streets of Ypres. We haven’t even made it out of the doors of the hotel and we are stopped by some guests for some photos.
Off we go again, in a 3×3 ( actually more a 3 x 3 x 3x 2 ) group we make our way along the cobbles. We walk along past the Cloth Hall, an impressive cathedral like structure. A lady rushes past us and stops a few metres in front of us, camera poised to catch us passing her. We offer to stop so she can get the best image. She thanks us and informs us she is a nurse herself and in-fact the head of Nurse Training at a college in Wales. She thanks us again and we return to our journey.
There are lots of people in the streets as usual, all heading towards the Menin Gate for the last post ceremony that is performed every night. We are getting alot of attention as we walk along the street. We turn round a corner and there it is. A beautiful archway at the top of the cobbled road, lit up and swarming with people. All trying to get the best position for the ceremony. The columns and sides are engraved with thousands of names, all are men that have fallen in WW1 and have no known grave, this is their memorial so that they will never be forgotten. It is breathtaking.

We arrive at the outer edge of the crowd, everyone is watching us. We walk proudly through the archway and into the centre of the memorial. Here we chat with the marshals of the ceremony and they tell us where we need to stand. We move to the side and form up ready. We are first, the people who were meant to be before us have not turned up. Now we must wait about 15 minutes for the start of the ceremony, it feels like 15 hours!
A disembodied voice silences the crowd, it is very eerie to suddenly go from the voices of a thousand people to silence. The speaker welcomes everyone and asks that they remain silent throughout the ceremony. Someone’s mobile phone rings…a few seconds for them to find it and silence it then we begin.

The buglers play The Last Post, the sound echoes round the memorial. While they play the crowd does not make a sound, all you can hear is the sound of hundreds of camera shutters softly clicking. Now footsteps as Tracey McRory walks into the centre. She is a musician from Ireland and she has composed a special piece of music for us titled Roses Of No Mans Land. This she now plays. Her violin sings the haunting notes around the crowd slowly. Once finished she steps back and joins our group, she will make up the 4th line of our group.
The exhortation is read by another of our group and then once she has rejoined us the marshal nods to Beverley. The first 3 step forward. They cross the centre of the memorial and on the other side climb the steps ahead of them. Once at the top they stop. Beverley now steps forward and lays the wreath, salutes, steps back and the group then return. As they are on the way back down the steps the next 3 proceed and repeat the process, this time Jennifer lays a wreath. Twice more with Suzanna and Tracey laying wreaths. We rejoin the line of wreath layers, all the time the crowd has watched our every move.
It takes another 10 minutes or so for the other participants of the ceremony to lay their wreaths. Once they have all finished the buglers sound the end of the ceremony, the standard bearer raises the flag and everyone is finished. The crowd starts to move and talk again and we all feel honoured for having taken part in the ceremony.

Suddenly we are like celebrities, everyone wants to take our picture. It is very surreal. It takes about half an hour for everyone to finish lining us up and taking our picture. We do manage to get a lovely group shot with the buglers. We can now relax and feel extremely proud of ourselves for our achievement.

Now we head back to The Ariane Hotel for a wonderful meal that the owners have put on for us.

(images in this post courtesy of Beverly Gall )

We Did It!

Sunday morning we all get dressed in our WW1 Nurses and VAD’s uniforms. I have to say we do look impressive. We board the minibus and make our way to Talbot House in nearby Poperinge. As we make our way we are getting some strange looks from passing motorists, we even get a wave from a bewildered young girl, we wave back. I guess it’s not everyday that a minibus full of WW1 Nurses passes you by.
We arrive at Talbot House and are given a very warm welcome. They have kindly laid on a wonderful breakfast feast for us, followed by a tour of the house. A totally fascinating place. Talbot House, or Toc H as it is known, played a really big part in boosting morale of the soldiers during the war.

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After some photographs for Talbot House, and a few for their guests, we make our way to Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery to pay our respects to Nellie Spindler. Nellie was a member of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. In August 1917, during the first three weeks of the Third Battle of Ypres Nellie served as a nurse with 44th Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) at Brandhoek, five kilometres east of Poperinge. On 21st August 1917 the CCS at Brandhoek was hit by German artillery shells. Five nurses including Nellie were concussed by the explosions. Nellie died later from an injury to her chest. Her body was brought to the cemetery at Lijssenthoek for burial. Over one hundred officers, four generals and the Surgeon-General attended the funeral
It was very surreal to walk through the Cemetery and see all the walkers dressed in their uniforms. Beverley and Jennifer laid a posy for Nellie and Karen read In Flanders Field. It was beautiful.

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Due to the warm weather and the fact we wanted to keep our uniforms in pristine condition for the ceremony at The Menin Gate this evening, we all changed into our walking kit and Wenches In Trenches T-Shirts for the next part of our day.
Dropped off quite a distance from Ypres we made our way along the roadside that 100 years ago the soldiers walked before us. Our guide stopped at several places along the way to tell us little snippets of information about the area.
One of the small cemeteries that we stopped at was Red Farm Cemetery, this was created for the dressing station at Red Farm. It contains 42 UK and 17 unknown soldiers. Also buried here are 3 Belgian civilians.
Our next stop was Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, this was exceptional in the care of those buried here in that if men of the same unit were killed about the same time they have been buried next to each other. There is also a high proportion of Territorial burials here, in particular Lancashire Territorials. One of England’s Soldier Poets Harold Parry is buried here and we took some time to pay our respects to him by reading one of his poems over his grave. It was a very emotional experience. After a quick lunch break we continued with the last few km of our walk. Arriving at The Ariane Hotel in Ypres, very tired and very pleased that we had reached our destination. A nice cold drink and a rest now before the ceremony at The Menin Gate this evening.
( all images in this post courtesy of Beverly Gall )

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Eve Of Our Walk

Today is the eve of our walk. We started our day with the most amazing breakfast at Varlet Farm. Once we had all eaten our fill we made our way to Tyne Cot Cemetery. This Cemetery has the graves of over 11,000 fallen soldiers. The morning was cooler than the last few days and quite misty, giving the Cemetery a very eerie feeling.

Our next stop was Passchendaele Museum. What a fascinating place. They have a mock up of some dugouts to give you the feeling of what it must have been like for the troops. Quite surreal walking through the corridors and seeing the rooms that represent what the soldiers would have put up with. Very cramped conditions. There were also examples of both German and British trenches that you could walk through. The rest of the museum was very interesting. Well worth a visit.
We had lunch at The Passchendaele Pub. We were made to feel extremely welcome and the food was delicious. We definitely recommend a visit here.

Next we went to Essex Farm Cemetery. This is was an advanced dressing station and some of the bunkers still remain. This cemetery has the grave of Valentine Sturdwick of the 8th Rifle Brigade. He was only 15 when he was killed.
This is also where John McCrae wrote the famous poem In Flanders Fields

We are now getting the last few preparations done for our walk tomorrow. It is going to be a brilliant and moving day.

We Have Arrived!

We woke at 5am this morning. Up, washed, dressed and in the minibus by 6am. Drove the half hour to the Eurotunnel port and boarded the train.
Just under an hour later we arrived in France to beautiful sunshine. We stopped for a quick cup of coffee and a snack before making our way towards Belgium.
We did stop off at Wimereux Cemetery near Boulogne to pay our respects there. It was in the opposite direction to Belgium, but well worth the detour.
We found a few Nurses and even a VAD buried there among the many many fallen soldiers. Wench Karen even found a soldier with the same surname as her.
We had a lovely reflective walk around the headstones, which uncommonly are all laid flat. It was very humbling.

Our next stop was The Ariane Hotel in Ypres for lunch. What a fantastic place, with delicious food too. The venue and weather were both beautiful.
After lunch we headed towards the place we are staying for the next few days, Varlet Farm in Ypres Salient. On the way through St Julien we stopped to see The Brooding Soldier, a magnificent memorial to the Canadian Forces.

Arriving at Varlet Farm we were all impressed with it. Given the name “Varlet Farm” by British soldiers during WW1 and appears as such on original trenchmaps. The original farm, situated on Passchendaele territory and strongly fortified by the Germans, was finally taken by the “Hood Battalion”, Royal Naval Division, after fierce fighting in October 1917. Nothing of the original farm remained by 1918. In 1922 rebuilding commenced just a few metres from the original site
It is quite humbling to think of all those thousands of men whose lives were lost right on the ground we are now standing on!

After the most amazing slice of homemade apple cake we settled our bags into our rooms and had a few hours rest. Then we went to Ypres for some food and to watch the ceremony at the Menin Gate. Breathtaking to hear the last post being bugled under the echoey arch of the gate surrounded by the thousands of names of the fallen with no known grave.

 

Half Way

After a very long journey for a lot of the Wenches we have all met up at Folkestone Premier Inn. Here we will spend the night before getting a very early train across to France for the next leg of our trip.
Wenches from previous walks Suzanna, Beverley, Liz, Sue W, Justine and Karen and new Wenches Amanda, Jennifer and Sue Mc have bonded very well over a nice cool drink.
It is great to see everyone all together for the start of this years walk. Good Luck to every walker.

One More Sleep!

Well here we are on the eve of the day we travel to Belgium. I can’t believe it has finally arrived. We have planned and packed and there is nothing left to do now.
Tomorrow we set off from Penzance with our minibus, kindly donated by Vospers Uk, we are stopping off at a couple of places to pick Wenches up on the way. We will be staying overnight at Folkestone tomorrow before getting the 7am Eurotunnel to France on Friday morning.

This afternoon Head Wench Sue R, Suzanna and Sue Mc went to Paul Church in Penzance to give a little talk about the walk. Suzanna went dressed in her uniform and looked amazing! It was a great afternoon and the parishioners that attended all commented on how interesting the talk was.

We are now going to have a relaxing evening all set for the journey tomorrow.

Good luck to all the Wenches taking part, Thank You to everyone that has donated & pledged money to the girls.

Not Long To Go

I can’t believe it is nearly time for us to embark on our walk in Belgium! It is just over 2 weeks until we leave for Ypres.
Everybody is busy fundraising and we thank all those who have donated so far. To those who have not donated yet…WHY?
Come on all we ask is for a couple of pounds, it wont break the bank but it will help us tremendously. Just click the link below and pay with either Paypal or your credit/debit card.

The uniforms are all just about finished, only a few finishing touches to go. We are going to look amazing!
All Wenches are working hard to get donations from their friends and families. We have a good amount coming in through the Paypal donate button.
All transport has been sorted, Eurotunnel and accommodation booked. There is not much else left to do now.

So we just want to say a big thank you to everyone that has given up their time, skills and support to make our event happen.
A massive thank you to Head Wench Sue R for all her hard work and organisation even when she was very ill.
Thank you to The Giving Shop in Penzance for the making of the uniforms.
Thank you to Vospers UK for the donation of the Minibus to transport us all to and from Belgium.
Thank you to everyone that has already, and those yet to donate.
Finally thank you to the Wenches, each and everyone, for giving up your time to participate in this years walk.

 

New Sponsor

We are very pleased to announce that we have a new corporate sponsor.vospers
Vospers have kindly sponsored our walkers with the donation of a 17 seater minibus, for the duration of the walk.

We would all like to thank Vospers for their kind sponsorship of our event.

For details of Vospers and their dealership please visit their website HERE

First Uniform Finished

As you are aware we are having some of our uniforms made by Head Wench Sue R and the ladies of The Giving Shop in Penzance.
Some of the Wenches are having their uniforms made elsewhere. One Wench Sue W has had hers made by her very talented mum.
Here is a picture of Sue in her lovely uniform. This will give you an idea of what we will all look like on the walk.

Wench Sue W

 

Poem from a Veterans Wife

We have been sent a poem by a lovely lady. She is an amazing lady who cares for her husband, who is a Veteran with PTSD. We would like to share it with you all as it is so relevant to us. Thank you honorary Wench, your poem is beautiful.xxx

Rose of no mans land 1914

Among the fields of poppies,
An English Rose did go,
To tend to British Tommies,
And nurse them row on row.

To comfort and to quiet,
To hold the ones that screamed,
The injured and the dying,
She spent her time between.

Off duty, she would talk with them,
Writing their letters home,
To mothers soon to be bereft,
To sweethearts left alone.

Young Jack she spoke to gently,
she heard his last requests,
By lamplight, taking a lock of hair,
And the buttons from his chest.

She gently wrapped the buttons,
With the lock of hair entwined,
Inside a note to Jack’s poor mother,
The tears, they left her blind.

Moving on between the rows,
To others yet to die,
Comforting and soothing,
Whilst asking “Why,just why?”

BY A UK Veteran’s Wife 2014

Minty

This is unrelated to Wenches, sort of, but I need to explain the picture of the white dog on the  Making Of The Dresses – Part 2 on the NEWS page.

The picture is of Wench Suzanna’s dog Minty. He was a rescue dog that she got in 2012 as a companion for her husband Simon, who is a veteran with PTSD. Minty became the mascot of Head Wench Sue R and the Wenches. Suzanna used to visit the office in Penzance a couple of times a week and Minty would often come with her. He really loved Sue and everyone loved him. He was always so very happy to see Sue whenever she visited Suzanna and Simon at home.

Sadly just after their move to the North East Minty passed away from a heart attack..he was only 2.He is very sadly missed.

Suzanna is the person that does the website and while uploading the most recent post suddenly Minty’s picture appeared. Thinking it had been put in the images by mistake, Suzanna went to take it out, only to find that it didnt seem to be there?
Her husband, who is a genius on computers, also had a look and there is no trace of the picture in the ‘code’ of the website, yet it is there.
It is only showing on the post on the NEWS page, if you click on the post and view it alone there is no picture of Minty showing?

So we think Minty just wanted to say Hi to Sue R and all the Wenches. 🙂

Making Of The Dresses – Part 2

Head Wench Sue R and the ladies of The Giving Shop in Penzance have been very busy making the dresses for all the Wenches to wear on the walk this year. They have been sewing away and most of the work in nearly done. There are just a few bits to do now. We would like to say a massive Thank You to everyone that has given up their time to cut, measure, iron and sew the many many yards of fabric needed to make these fabulous uniforms. Please support us by donating, help us to get the memorials so desperately needed to honour the brave women of WW1 Here are a few pictures of the progress so far.