A new events space has been installed at South Ribble’s war memorial.
With a new hardstanding area, new paths, planting, and a tree - a battlefield oak - it promises to be the ideal venue for future remembrance events.
The memorial in Lostock Hall which commemorates the brave servicemen of the borough who fought and died for their country in the Great War, has been one of the most photographed locations in the borough since its introduction in 2016.
Now it can host gatherings of local community groups, schools and important council events, such as Remembrance Day.
Four decorative planters have also been added to the front of the site to stop cars from parking outside the memorial – an act which had frustrated local residents.
Coun Phil Smith, cabinet member for regeneration and leisure at South Ribble Council, said: “The war memorial is one of our most striking and significant locations.
“This new events space creates many opportunities for organisations to stage small gatherings at the war memorial – especially around Remembrance Day, when services are held and schools come to visit and lay wreaths.
“As part of our wider programme to develop St Catherine’s Park – with a new natural play area, arts trail, and paths – the events space shows our commitment to investing in our local parks and green spaces.”
Coun Alan Ogilvie, armed forces champion at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “We’re already very proud of the war memorial as a poignant and fitting tribute to the brave men and women who died protecting us in the First World War.
“Anything we can do to further improve this area – as a place of quiet reflection and regional importance – will only make it a better place to come and pay our respects.
“We hold lots of events at the memorial, especially on significant anniversaries or dates, so this new events area gives us a location befitting of such important remembrance services.”
One of the first events to be held in the new space is the national Battle’s Over tribute on November 11, which marks 100 years since the end of the First World War.
As part of this, a Beacon of Light will be lit at 7pm to coincide with over 1,000 other beacons being lit around the UK.
The war memorial, which remembers 686 men who died serving their country in the Great War, was dedicated in a moving ceremony on Armistice Day 2015.
The service was attended by families of the men and some of Lancashire’s highest-ranking dignitaries.
Led by the then Mayor of South Ribble, Coun Mary Green, the service included readings by Vice Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire Colonel Alan Jolley and Wellfield High School head girl
Chloe Juniper, as well as a number of hymns.
Wreaths were laid and bugler Darryl Cartwright from the Royal British Legion played the last post.
The poignant ceremony was brought to a close by the City of Preston Pipes and Drums. The memorial is made of a thick steel alloy with a rusted appearance and has a cut-out silhouette of a soldier with head bowed, a large poppy, and the word ‘remember’ inscribed upon it.