A series of Remembrance events is planned for the Volunteer Hall in Duns – a World War 1 recruiting base – to mark the centenary of the Armistice.
Raina Haig, the granddaughter of World War 1 commander Field Marshall Earl Haig, is returning to the Borders to speak in the first of the events, on 1st November.
Open to all, the event will be a mix of talks, discussion, readings and songs from Oh What a Lovely War as a prelude to its production on Wednesday 7th-Friday 9th, 7.30pm and Saturday 10th November by the Duns Players and Duns and District Amateur Operatic Society.
Raina Haig was born in 1958 and grew up at Bemersyde in the Scottish Borders. Her father was the painter Dawyck Haig (1918-2009), the son of Field Marshall Haig.
Raina read Sanskrit at Oxford and has worked extensively in media and film, as a writer and director. She has contributed to many community arts projects, particularly with reference to disability issues. As a writer she worked with several members of the Theatre Workshop troupe which first created Oh! What A Lovely War. She is National President of the Royal British Legion Scotland, Women’s Section.
Mike Hally will be another speaker. Mike is a radio producer who is working towards a PhD at the Centre for Conflict Studies at the University of Edinburgh dealing with the development of ex-servicemen’s organisations during and after the First World War, in which Edinburgh played a leading part.
Woven into the evening will be songs for everyone to join in from the forthcoming production of Oh What a Lovely War and readings from the newly published book The Soldiers Remember, of soldiers’ thoughts, written down when they were being cared for at Southfield Auxiliary Military Hospital, Duns. The audience will also be given the opportunity to question the speakers and discuss the issues raised during the course of the evening.
Other events will be the creation of a major community art work in the Volunteer Hall on Monday November 5th, which will remain at the Hall for the week. A Heart for Duns is acquiring a group of poignant silhouettes of soldiers to display in the Hall on a permanent basis.
The events are supported by the First World War Then and Now Programme of the Heritage Lottery Fund