One million poppy seeds, thousands of crosses and hundreds of schoolchildren will mark Burnley’s 100th commemoration of the start of the First World War.
Fittingly titled “We Will Remember Them”, the events will culminate in candlelit processions on the evening of August 4th, the date in 1914 when Britain declared war on Germany.
In June, small wooden crosses – one for each of the 4,212 local men and one woman who lost their lives during the war – will be laid in Towneley and Padiham Memorial Parks. Each cross will bear a soldier’s name, written on it by schoolchildren.
One million poppy seeds will also be planted in Towneley Park to remember Flanders fields, where much of the fighting took place.
A commemorative display will alo be planted on the Straight Mile canal embankment. Burnley Council leader Julie Cooper said: “More than 4,000 men from Burnley and Padiham died in the First World War. Not only did that have a massive and dramatic impact on their families, it also affected the social fabric of the towns. Our borough has always had strong links to the Armed Forces and we have a moral duty to remember those who have fallen, not only in the First World War, but also in conflicts since then across the world.
“We’re determined to make sure that people of all ages have the opportunity to find out more about their borough’s contribution in the 1914-18 conflict and to remember those thousands of men who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
The council is one of the organisations, including Salute and the Royal British Legion, making up Burnley’s Armed Forces Covenant.
Other events will include exhibitions at Towneley Hall, as well as a military vehicle display in Burnley town centre on June 29th.
The commemoration programme will continue through the autumn, culminating on Remembrance Sunday (November 9th).
The council has also set aside £25,000 in its budget to clean and re-letter all 17 public war memorials in the borough.