Bromley Cross Community Gathers To Mark First World War Centenary | This Is Lancashire

by Deb Lyons

A POIGNANT service was held to mark 100 years since the armistice of November 11, 1918, which brought an end to the fighting between the Allied forces and Germany during the First World War.

Some 200 people attended the centenary commemoration at Christ Church Walmsley in Egerton, to remember the soldiers who fell while serving their country.

Those gathered included the Bishop of Bolton, Mark Ashcroft, Sir David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, and the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Elaine Sherrington, among other civic and religious leaders.

The service opened with a medley of wartime songs, ‘Keep Smiling Through’, and fanfare, performed by the long-established Eagley Brass Band, led by Musical Director Chris Wormald.

A selection of poetry, readings and moving imagery had been collated for the commemoration, which saw the community come together to remember all experiences, good and bad, of conflicts past and present.

The service featured true stories of courage and bravery, contributed by families living in Bromley Cross.

Cllr Sherrington said: “It was a very moving service commemorating 100 years since the end of the First World War.

“There were stories of real people who had lived in Bromley Cross, who had served during the War.

“The service was put together very well and I was very pleased to have been invited.”

Church warden Dawn Hitchen was heavily involved in organising the service after being approached by Bromley Cross ward councillors with the idea.

She said: “We wanted to organise a fitting commemoration for those who have lost loved ones, not just during the conflict of the First World War, but in other wars too.

“We want to say a big thank you to everyone who attended. It was very heartwarming to see people come together.

“Particular thanks go to Eagley Brass Band, who brought the fanfare element to the commemorations. Thanks also go to Mark Head for producing the amazing programme with the help of Ken Holt, and to Derek Bailey who has coordinated various memorabilia from the First World War.”

A heritage day was held in September, when members of the community were encouraged to share remembrances or memorabilia, in word, image or artefact, of the First World War. These memories and real stories were used to form much of the content of the service.

Staff and pupils from local schools also contributed to the gathering, through readings and the creation of various art pieces for the displays.

As part of the service, those gathered joined in with some of the music, including the well-known refrain ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and ‘Keep the Home Fire Burning’.

A procession made their way to the front of the church, as children carried candles. The Bishop of Bolton then led the congregation in the act of remembrance before the Last Post rang out and a two minute silence was observed by all of those gathered.

Rev Carol Hayden said: “The service commemorating the First World War armistice was a great act of community remembrance, giving us the opportunity to collectively remember those who gave their lives.

“It was a well-attended event with representatives from across the whole community — young and old.

“The service comprised of many elements including the lighting of candles by school children and music played by Eagley Brass Band. We also heard the stories of local soldiers that served during the First World War, which was particularly poignant as they were personal and connected to our local area.

“Thanks and credit goes to those who worked hard to organise the event.”

Photograph from This is Lancashire