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Bressingham & District Ladies Club – May 2024 Meeting Notes

The May meeting of Bressingham & District Ladies Club welcomed Keith Rackham, who gave an enlightening and informative talk entitled ‘50 years of Stonemasonry’. In 1972 Keith joined Perfitts, a family stonemasonry business and was instrumental in taking it from a company which served the local community to one which provided many impressive memorials for the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield in Staffordshire.

On joining the company Keith recognised the importance of training a younger generation in the specialised skills needed for stonemasonry. At the same time the 1970s saw an increase in US veterans making pilgrimages to East Anglia and as a consequence a need for larger memorials required for the local airfields. The specialist work undertaken to create these memorials led to further prestigious contracts and Keith’s subsequent involvement in the establishment of the National Memorial Arboretum, opened in May 2001, including the design and building of a number of its memorials.

Keith’s talk was illustrated with photos of many of these memorials and also included anecdotes of his meetings throughout the years with members of the Armed Forces and the Royal Family. Keith’s spoke with pride about his work with the National Memorial Arboretum which started with the design and supply of the RAF Regimental Memorial. This led to the creation of many more memorials including those commemorating The Battle of the River Plate, The British Railway Industry, Cyprus Veterans, The Battle of the Somme, The Prison Officers Association and a Gibraltar memorial made from an genuine piece of Gibraltar rock! In 2007 Keith was elected National President for the National Association of Memorial Masons and designed a memorial garden to honour the association’s design and masonry skills.

The next Ladies Club meeting will be held on Monday 17th June at 7.00pm with a chair aerobics session run by local instructor Helen Blee. The session will be accessible to all and will include examples of exercises that can be tried at home. Annual membership for the monthly Ladies club meetings is £20 however non members are very welcome with an entrance fee of £3 to include refreshments.