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Charity's centenary to be marked with grand ball

PUBLISHED: 15:13 18 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:22 18 July 2019

The opening ceremony of Kitchener's in 1919. Picture: Courtesy of Mike Sims

The opening ceremony of Kitchener's in 1919. Picture: Courtesy of Mike Sims

Archant

It is a unique charity that has supported ex-members of the armed, merchant and emergency services for generations.

Pictured outside of Kitchener's are chair of trustees Derrick Yellowley, trustee Mike Sims, a guest, and managers Carol Ellis and Adam Crocker. Picture: Denise Brady PhotographyPictured outside of Kitchener's are chair of trustees Derrick Yellowley, trustee Mike Sims, a guest, and managers Carol Ellis and Adam Crocker. Picture: Denise Brady Photography

And one of Lowestoft's most historic hotels is gearing up for a busy few weeks ahead as it prepares for a special centenary.

After being set up in memory of one of the nation's greatest war heroes on August 7, 1919 the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre in Lowestoft is set to host a grand charity ball, its annual meeting and a free concert to mark the 100th anniversary year of the centre.

The opening ceremony of Kitchener's in 1919, as published in The Journal. Picture: Journal ArchivesThe opening ceremony of Kitchener's in 1919, as published in The Journal. Picture: Journal Archives

Founded by the former secretary of state for war, the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre provides seafront holiday accommodation in Lowestoft, Suffolk, to ex-members of the armed, merchant and emergency services.

Throughout its history the grade II listed building in Kirkley Cliff Road, Lowestoft has provided a welcoming venue for ex-members of the armed, merchant and emergency services.

The opening ceremony of Kitchener's in 1919. The guest of honour, General Sir Henry Horne, inspecting Mons survivors before the opening ceremony. PIcture: Journal ArchivesThe opening ceremony of Kitchener's in 1919. The guest of honour, General Sir Henry Horne, inspecting Mons survivors before the opening ceremony. PIcture: Journal Archives

But throughout its history, the Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday Centre has relied on donations - with further help needed to ensure the centre can continue its "vital" work.

At its height in the 1920s, 100 people would use the centre on a daily basis.

The opening ceremony of Kitchener's in 1919. Picture: Courtesy of Mike SimsThe opening ceremony of Kitchener's in 1919. Picture: Courtesy of Mike Sims

Today its 10 twin-bed rooms are open to ex-armed servicemen and women, ex-merchant servicemen and women and ex-emergency servic men and women - as well as their spouses and partners, and widows.

Known to the centre's trustees and management committee as Lowestoft's best kept secret, Kitchener's is open between April and October.

The display board created by Mike Sims, which will be on show at the forthcoming events. Picture: Denise Brady PhotographyThe display board created by Mike Sims, which will be on show at the forthcoming events. Picture: Denise Brady Photography

With the centre's AGM taking place on July 19 in the presence of the patron Lady Emma Kitchener and her husband Baron Julian Fellowes, a black tie grand charity ball to celebrate the 100th anniversary year of the centre is being held at the Hotel Victoria on July 20 - with a charity auction, raffle and music by The Austin Beats.

And at 7.30pm on August 8, on the Kitchener Garden opposite the centre, the opening of the venue will be recreated as the Loddon Band perform in a free concert that is open to all.

The display board created by Mike Sims, which will be on show at the forthcoming events. Picture: Denise Brady PhotographyThe display board created by Mike Sims, which will be on show at the forthcoming events. Picture: Denise Brady Photography

Trustee Mike Sims said: "So many people do not know we are here, or have no idea what we do.

"We can have up to 20 guests stay here, but we are totally reliant on charitable donations.

"It is amazing how the centre has survived for the past 100 years as the centre has lived on an almost hand-to-mouth basis."

Trustee Denise Brady added: "This is certainly a unique centre, and to ensure it continues for the next 100 years it is vital we get further support."

With the new management team of Carol Ellis and Adam Crocker keen to ensure the centre is at the forefront of everyone's attention in Lowestoft, they hope to see more of the local community using Kitcheners as a range of events are being considered.

Mr Crocker said: "For the year so far we have had nearly 200 guests and all this month we are welcoming four guests a week from the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

"We will be open every day for the Heritage Open Days in September offering tours of this interesting building and we have the tagline of 'you served us, now let us serve you."

Visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/charities/kitchener to pledge support.

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