First World War 100 scheme takes root

HONOURING THE FALLEN ' Ribble Valley deputy mayor Michael Ranson at the Clitheroe Castle war memorial.
HONOURING THE FALLEN ' Ribble Valley deputy mayor Michael Ranson at the Clitheroe Castle war memorial.

An ambitious scheme to plant trees in Ribble Valley’s 35 parishes in memory of the borough’s fallen of the First World War has been launched.

The Great Wood scheme will see oak trees bearing plaques in memory of the hundreds of young Ribble Valley men who lost their lives during the Great War planted throughout the borough.

Ribble Valley Deputy Mayor Coun. Michael Ranson plans to plant the commemorative trees throughout his mayoral year, which starts on May 13th. Schoolchildren from each parish will be involved in the planting and given poppy and wildflower seeds for commemorative gardens at their schools.

The 100th anniversary of Britain’s involvement in the First World War takes place on Monday, August 4th, and will herald commemorative events throughout the country.

From 2014 until the 100th anniversary of the official ceasefire, or Armistice Day, on November 11th, 2018, communities across the world will come together to remember those who lived, fought and died in the First World War.

Coun. Ranson, who lost a great-uncle in the war, said: “We are all connected to the First World War, through our family history, the fallen in our local communities, or its long-term impact on society.

“I am honoured and humbled to be leading this important campaign to remember Ribble Valley’s fallen during my year as Mayor.”

The First World War was a turning point in world history, claiming the lives of 16 million people across the world and having a huge impact on those who experienced it.

As Ribble Valley did not exist until 1974, there is no precise records of the number of fallen in the borough, but it is believed to be around 1,000. The borough council is liaising with parish councils on the best sites for the trees.

Ribble Valley will host numerous First World War commemorative events over the coming year, including a civic service at St Mary’s Parish Church, Clitheroe, on Sunday, August 3rd. Further details of this and all events will be available on the council’s website ( over the coming months and in these pages.