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October 31 2014.

Newhaven Town Council has received £23,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting new project, “Newhaven’s First World War”. Over the next eighteen months this project will result in seven information boards forming a “Poppy Trail” around the town to tell the story of Newhaven’s role during the war.

The project will also involve guided and informative walks alongside workshops and talks for local schools, community groups and the general public. Family history workshops will also take place to allow people to learn more about their own family story

Newhaven was one of the major supply ports during the First World War, helping to keep the troops on the Western Front equipped with everything from food, to horses and munitions and much more besides. The harbour was busy 24 hours a day with transport ships arriving, being loaded up and leaving again. Four thousand soldiers were garrisoned in the town to defend it; the Hillcrest Centre was a hospital and from 1917 there was a seaplane base on the eastern side of the harbour to help protect the shipping from submarine attack.

This project will help local people to uncover this rich heritage and give visitors a glimpse of Newhaven’s past. The Poppy Trail, as well as dedicated website pages, will provide a lasting legacy to help future generations understand the vital role Newhaven played during 1914-18.

Councillor Judith Ost, Town Mayor of Newhaven, said: “I am delighted that we have secured the funding for this project which will uncover and display for all to see another part of the rich and varied history of our town. It is fascinating to learn how familiar landmarks like the Hillcrest Centre were utilised a hundred years ago. I look forward to attending some of the activities and hope that many local people will join in and be part of the project.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said: “The First World War had a significant impact on Newhaven, which saw its coastal community become a major supply port for the Western Front and home to thousands of British and overseas troops. We’re pleased to support this project which will create a lasting legacy of Newhaven’s memory of the conflict and help young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”