Lest We Forget: Remembrance in Lancashire

Remembrance Day service on the Flag Market in Preston
Remembrance Day service on the Flag Market in Preston

Almost 100 years on since the end of The Great War, people from across Lancashire will remember the wartime fallen this coming weekend, as a number of services are held throughout the county to mark Remembrance Day.

In Preston, hundreds are expected to descend upon the war memorial on Market Square on Sunday, November 12, as the city remembers.

Remembrance Day service on the Flag Market in Preston

Remembrance Day service on the Flag Market in Preston

Starting from 10:50am, the service will be led by Bishop John Goddard, with The Brindle Band providing music from the Flag Market.

Leader of Preston City Council, coun Peter Rankin, said: “The Remembrance Sunday service in Preston is a very special event in the city’s calendar. It’s a chance for the community to come together and pay their respects to the men and women who sacrificed so much for our freedom.

“I would encourage people of every generation to attend and say ‘We will remember them’.” Thousands will wear red poppies as a sign of remembrance – a symbol of the flower that kept on growing in the fields surrounding Ypres, Belgium, as the chaos of war raged on.

“The Legion’s red poppy is a universal symbol of Remembrance and hope,” said Jon Keighren from the Royal British Legion.

I would encourage people of every generation to attend and say ‘We will remember them’.

For some, rememberance has become a wider way to involve community.

Joanne O’Niell, owner of clothing boutique store Wo+man, in Hough Lane, Leyland, has invited the community to remember the sacrifices soliders made by decorating her shop window with poppies.

“I want to raise money for the Royal British Legion via the Poppy Appeal so by having this display it will attract attention and make people remember,” said Joanne. “A few people have commented on it, which is great, as it is helping to raise awareness.

Here are the weekend services in the nearby area.

Are fewer people wearing poppies?

In more recent years, debate over what the poppy stands for has seen less people wear the traditional flower as their way to honour those who have fallen in battle.

Data from independent researchers Consumer Intelligence reveals that around one in five (21 per cent) adults in the north west are unlikely to wear the red poppy to mark Remembrance Day this Sunday.

Its research found 11 per cent of adults will definitely not wear poppies, while another nine per cent are unsure with their main objections to wearing poppies, including feeling bullied into supporting the annual appeal, with a fifth of objectors saying they believe the Remembrance symbol glorifies war.

The data also revealed that 38 percent of people in the north west believe that wearing a poppy should be compulsory.

Chief executive of Consumer Intelligence, Ian Hughes, said: “The Poppy Appeal commands widespread support and raises huge sums but not everyone agrees with it or backs it. It is interesting however that tolerance of those who oppose poppies is so high with most people accepting it is a matter of personal choice.”

Jon Keighren from the Royal British Legion: “The red poppy is inclusive of all who wish to wear it, is non-political and does not depict support for war. We see no contradiction in wearing other emblems alongside the red poppy, and recognise the right of any group or individual to express their views within the law.”

Efforts by local businesses

A Leyland businesswoman is inviting the community to remember the sacrifices soldiers have made by decorating her shop window with poppies.

The elegant display at clothing boutique store Wo+man, in Hough Lane, was designed by owner Joanne O’Neill and her friend Angie Brooks.

Joanne said: “My friend, Angie, is a really talented painter and she hand-painted a copy of the Weeping Window at the Tower of London.

“I used some netting and placed some poppies on it, so they cascaded down.

“I have done poppy displays for a few years now.

“I want to raise money for the Royal British Legion via the Poppy Appeal so by having this display it will attract attention and make people remember.

“A few people have commented on it, which is great, as it is helping to raise awareness. I have a collection tin in my shop if people want to pop in and donate. It is important we never forget.”

Joanne also has a poppy from the Tower of London, which she bought in memory of her grandad, Michael Wilson, who died shortly before the Battle of Somme in the First World War.

She added: “My grandad was in the Durham Light Infantry.

“He was responsible for digging the trenches and got wounded and died. He was buried in Bailleul Cemetery in France.”

Why do we wear a red poppy?

In the spring of 1915, shortly after the Second Battle of Ypres, a Canadian doctor – Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae – was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in war-torn fields to write the now famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.

McCrae’s poem inspired an American academic, Moina Michael, to make and sell red silk poppies which were brought to England by a French woman, Anna Guérin.

After the First World War came to an end in 1918, the red poppy was adopted as a symbol of remembrance in honour of those who died during wartime. The Royal British Legion, formed in 1921, ordered nine million of these poppies and sold them on November 11 of that year, raising over £106,000 – a lot of money for the time.

Jon Keighren from the Royal British Legion: “The Legion’s red poppy is a universal symbol of Remembrance and hope.

“Importantly, the red poppy raises funds to support our Armed Forces, veterans and their families in their time of need.”