The tale of a trio of valiant Prestonians is being brought to life for a new generation thanks to a special walking tour.
Beatrice Blackhurst, Joseph Garstang and John Gregson may not be household names in today’s city, but they soon could be.
For each played an important part in Preston’s First World War story and their voice is to be heard once again because of a partnership between the Preston Remembers Project and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Beatrice was a suffragette who marched for women’s right to vote and was a founding member of Preston’s Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Free Buffet Association at the railway station.
Joseph was a conscientious objector who refused to take part in any war-related activity and was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned for his beliefs.
Soldier John, who had served in India and formerly worked as a Preston tram driver, was an army reservist who lost his life in the First World War.
Street theatre group Theatre In The Quarter will launch the new tours and tell the trio’s story on Saturday, November 7, with half-hour performances at Preston war memorial at 11.30am and 2pm and Preston Railway Station at 12.30pm and 3.30pm.
The monthly walking tours will then commence the following weekend, when leaflets will also be available from local museums for self-guided tours.
Coun John Swindells, deputy leader of Preston City Council, said: “It is extremely important to remember the far reaching effects of the First World War and how it changed our society forever. The walking tours tell these fascinating stories and capture the time perfectly.”
He continued: “Many people have connections with their own family members who were lost. What is less well known is the untold effect it (the war) had on all corners of society – from people like Joseph Garstang who suffered horrendously for his beliefs, to the families left behind, refugees forced to flee their countries and those soldiers who came back, but were forever changed by their experiences.”
For details of the tours see www.prestonremembers. org.uk or prestonguildcity.co.uk/events