AN impressive exhibition was hosted to commemorate the end of the Battle of the Somme – 100 years ago.

The exhibition marked the end of a five-month long project, spearheaded by Basildon Heritage Group and Basildon Twinning Association.

It was the showpiece finale for all the research and work that had been put in by a number of schools and community groups.

Ken Porter, chairman and treasurer of the Basildon Heritage Group, said: “The event was a huge success and well-attended even though the bad weather kept numbers down.

“The atmosphere was terrific and we had a lot of very good responses including from the lottery fund who were very impressed.”

The exhibition at Wat Tyler Park, Pitsea, was attended by the War and Peace Trench, The Living History Society’s field hospital and recruitment tent, the tenth Essex Battalion re-enactment group and many others.

There were several tents detailing research about all aspects of the first World War including women at work, conscientious objectors and war-time hospitals.

The intense programme at the weekend included a live performance by Lee Chapel school choir and a display by Wickford ATC Band.

A Physical Training display of 100 years ago was put on by pupils of Woodlands School who were joined by Rio Team GB gymnast Brinn Bevan, from Benfleet. Brinn was joined by Basildon Mayor David Harrison to unveil a plaque to commemorate sportsmen who died at the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles during the war. It happened in Northern France.

Schoolchildren and teachers from Heiligenhaus were in attendance as were teachers from Meaux. Soldiers from Basildon, Heiligenhaus and Meaux were commemorated on a glass memorial presented by MP Stephen Metcalfe to Basildon’s Mayor. The memorial lists all the fallen from the three twin towns.

Bob Sheridan, a member of Basildon Heritage group, added: “Emma Cook from The Heritage Lottery Fund attended and was so impressed by the whole project and praised the efforts of organisers and dedicated volunteers.”