Memorial service held in Wisbech to pay tribute to the town’s most famous daughter Octavia Hill

Wisbech paid tribute to the town’s famous Octavia Hill on Sunday, December 2 at a special memorial s

Wisbech paid tribute to the town’s famous Octavia Hill on Sunday, December 2 at a special memorial service at St Peter’s Church. Picture: BIRTHPLACE HOUSE - Credit: BIRTHPLACE HOUSE

A special memorial service was held at St Peter’s Church in Wisbech last weekend to commemorate the life of the town’s famous Octavia Hill.

The town came together on Sunday, December 2 to pay tribute to the Wisbech-born founder of the National Trust who died in August 1912

Members of the Wisbech detachment of the Cambridgeshire army cadet force were urged to take inspiration from the woman who played a central part in the founding of the modern army cadet movement.

Peter Clayton, chairman of the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum Trust, told the youngsters attending the service that they could follow in the heroic footsteps of Octavia Hill, helping to create a better world for others to enjoy.

He thanked Keith Aplin for leading the service and members of the Cambridgeshire and Surrey army cadets for coming together to engage with the new Operation Noble pioneered by Colour Sergeant Scargill, which is helping to promote a partnership with local authorities and emphasising the debt that the 40,000 cadets around the country owe to their founder, Octavia Hill.

Mr Clayton said: “We have had another successful day, this year concentrating on one of Octavia Hill’s less known achievements, the founding of the army cadets.”

The service was a highlight of the 26th annual Octavia Hill Society commemoration day recalling the social reformer and co-founder of the National Trust, who in 1889 helped to form the first battalion of army cadets that was solely recruited from the working class and met at Red Cross Hall, near London Bridge.

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Earlier in the day the annual memorial lecture was given at the Birthplace House at 7 South Brink by Colour Sergeant Tim Scargill, of the Surrey army cadet force, who spoke about his life in the army cadets.

During the service he read the names of former cadets memorialised on a plaque in Southwark Cathedral who lost their lives in the Boer War – and the Bible reading, urging hearers to put on the whole armour of God as they answered the call to duty or danger, was given by Colonel Mark Knight MBE, commandant of the Cambridgeshire army cadet force.