Colne commemorates First World War in centenary year

POIGNANT MOMENT: A scene at The Gables during the Colne Commemorates event (S)

POIGNANT MOMENT: A scene at The Gables during the Colne Commemorates event (S)

Colne was transported back to 1914 at the weekend as residents, businesses, and visitors pulled together to remember the fallen of the First World War.

Miserable weather did not deter the crowds from Colne Commemorates, as poignant events, including a veterans’ and cadets’ parade and a recreated photographer’s studio, took place around the town.

Colne was decked out with signs, flags and bunting, and many businesses also got into the spirit of the centenary commemoration, which was organised by Colne Town Council.

Chair of the town council events committee, Coun. Dorothy Lord, said: “The response has been rapturous.

I was quite overwhelmed on Saturday night. Many, many people have told me they really appreciated what we organised and compared us favourably to better funded events in larger towns.”

Among activities gaining praise were the Pendle Hippodrome’s Western Front experience, where children were used as volunteers in the trench and the casualty clearing station, and The Gables’ shows, which saw Tommies from Lancashire Museums Service take on new recruits at a recreated hall.

The team at the Hippodrome reported that they were surprised by the numbers of visitors, with a crowd lining the orchestra pit often reaching four deep and visitors struggling to pack onto the stage. And at The Gables, there was said to be standing room only at the back of the hall.

Colne Commemorates co-ordinator, Eleanor Jolley, said: “We wanted people of Colne to learn more about the Great War and to get an idea of what life might have been like at home and at the front in an engaging way.

“The success of this was summed up when I came upon an elderly man from Colne showing a photograph of his father in France in 1917 to one of our performers, a history student, after the Service of Commemoration.

Here we had old and young sharing the day; a re-enactor meeting a man for whom the Great War had been a reality.”

The Events Committee is meeting next week to discuss funding and to consider staging the event again in some form next year. In addition, the committee is staging GreenRock on August 30th on the Millennium Green.

For more information on how Pendle commemorated the First World War see Leader Times Newspapers tomorrow.




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