Poignant poppy display to remember fallen Somme soldiers

30 June 2016

CLAY poppies will be used to create a poignant tribute to more than 100 brave soldiers from South Ribble who died in the Battle of the Somme.

Inspired by a similar project at the Tower of London, 103 poppies will be planted at the iconic new war memorial in Lostock Hall – one for each of the men from the borough who died fighting in the bloodiest battle of the First World War.

They have been painstakingly handmade by year seven pupils at Lostock Hall Academy and will form a moving backdrop for a special service of remembrance on Friday (July 1) – marking the 100th anniversary of the campaign.

Councillor Alan Ogilvie, South Ribble Borough Council’s Member Champion for Armed Forces, said: “As a borough, we are extremely proud of those men who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for their country and we want to ensure that they are never forgotten.

“Only last year we unveiled our new war memorial in Lostock Hall which bears the names of all soldiers from across the borough who died in the war.

“It has become an iconic landmark in South Ribble and is a truly fitting memorial to our lost heroes.

“As we prepare to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, the poppies will give us an opportunity for remembrance and reflection.”

The display will be introduced within the coming days, with eight poppies set to be installed at the short service as a tribute to those men who died on the first day of the battle.

A wicker sculpture depicting a First World War soldier will also be created in the peace garden with a second one being on display in Leyland’s award-winning Worden Park.

The council teamed up with Lostock Hall Academy after students there made impressive clay centrepieces used at an event marking the official unveiling of the memorial in November.
Guests were so impressed that they offered to buy them for £40 each to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Janine Murray, head of art at Lostock Hall Academy, said: “The timing couldn’t have been better because year seven have been learning about the Battle of the Somme.

“Some of them didn’t realise just how many men were killed, but when we put all the poppies together it was very powerful and poignant to know that each one represented a lost soldier.

“Amazingly there are 103 pupils in year seven, exactly the same as the number of men killed.”
Councillor Ogilvie added: “The staff and students have done a truly magnificent job in creating this display and I would like to thank them for all their hard work.”

South Ribble Borough Council has also teamed up with Chorley Council to sponsor a special concert performed by the world-renowned Leyland Band called ‘Pals on Parade’.

The event will be held at Chorley Town Hall on Saturday. Tickets are available from the Chorley Pals Memorial on: 0300 201 1916 or Leyland Band: 01772 813895.

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