Lancashire to honour sacrifices of a generation 100 years on

The sacrifices of a whole generation of Lancashire people are to be honoured with a weekend of events.

Saturday, 26th May 2018, 7:00 am
The Chorley Pals formingup on the Flat Iron in Chorley
The Chorley Pals formingup on the Flat Iron in Chorley

November 11, 2018 marks 100 years since the guns fell silent and the First World War ended.

To mark the momentous occasion, a concert is being planned for Preston, starring the famous Accrington military band.

The concert, called Lancashire Remembers, will be at Preston’s Guild Hall on Saturday, November 10.

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Preston Pals forming up on the Flag Market on September 7, 1914

The East Lancashire Concert Band, previously known as the Accrington Old Band which played as volunteers marched away in 1914, will lead the concert along with a 400-strong choir. Tributes will be paid to all those who lost their lives, including the Chorley Pals, Preston Pals and the Lancashire regiments.

Project Manager Anne Ellwood said: “It’s a brilliant idea. Neil Holme came to me with it last November and I couldn’t say no.

“I’ve got friends in Accrington with direct links back to the First World War and the Accrington Pals so it’s nice to give something back to Lancashire.”

Neil, who plays trumpet in the Band, got the idea for this around two years ago after the Band’s anniversary concert to mark the Battle of the Somme. It followed a concert in 2014 in recognition of the beginning of the war – making this year’s concert the third of three planned to commemorate the centenary.

Neil, 62, from Ashton-on-Ribble, said: “This is something that we have to do, really. It’s a one-off opportunity for people all over the county to come together.”

The Accrington and Chorley Pals made up part of the East Lancashire Regiment, with friends and family from Lancashire’s communities joining together to fight overseas.

The communities were left devastated after the Battle of the Somme in 1916, with 31 men from the Chorley Pals losing their lives in a single day, and a further three dying within the month.

A further 59 were wounded, making a total of 93 casualties from around 175 men from Chorley.

“This is about people having awareness of the war and the sacrifices made,” Anne explained. “We should remember these historic events. The next generation needs to know about it.”

The former Blackburn and Darwen Council worker added: “The war shaped these communities across the county and if it helps raise awareness of the effect then our job is done.

“It’s just an honour to be asked to help out.”

Anne, a self-titled “honorary Lancastrian” having been born in Cardiff, took her husband of 26 years, Carl, to the Somme two years ago as part of her own history lesson.

“When we got out there and saw all those graves, some with ages of 15 and 16-year-old boys, it shook me and my husband to the core,” she said.

The concert is teaming up with Londridge-based Barnacre Road Primary School’s own memorial stage production at the Guild Hall on November 11, which will see more than 700 children and adults take part.

And the school recently learned that more than 15,000 poppies have been knitted by people as far afield as Australia and Canada, with one person making 1,000 for the Longridge Schools Cluster Armistice Project, have been created for the production.

Head teacher Simon Wallis said: “The response has been amazing. Support is coming from all over the country, from Hexham to Cornwall and we’ve even had contributions from Australia and Canada. It’s incredible. The whole thing has snowballed and people have been incredible offering all sorts of help. It really is a community project.”

Anne said: “In recent years I think the younger generations are very much getting involved in these kind of services.”