A series of commemorations by the people of Whalley to remember those who fought in the Great War has raised £10,000 for the Royal British Legion and £700 towards the Normandy Memorial Trust.
"Whalley Remembers" was set up in February 2018 following a public meeting held in Whalley Primary School to consider how the local community might mark the centenary of the Armistice. There followed eight months of intense activity focused on awareness through leaflets put through every letterbox in Whalley and through large banners displayed in the village.
Whalley Remembers received donations from local businesses/organisations and won a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. These funds were used to produce mugs, which were given to every child in Whalley and Barrow Primary Schools and Oakhill College, car stickers, enamel badges, soldier silhouettes from the Army Benevolent Fund, heritage maps and blue plaques for places associated with the First World War. Local historian, Paddy Brown, wrote and produced a book entitled "Remembering Whalley’"- all 250 copies of which have been sold!
On November 10th, last year, Whalley Remembers arranged a walk led by Paddy Brown around places associated with the First World War in Whalley village. This was followed by a lantern lit procession around the village centre arranged by local uniformed organisations; this walk passed by houses from which young men left to go to war and never returned.
Lanterns were placed in Whalley Parish Churchyard over the graves and memorials of servicemen not just from Whalley, but those from further afield who died in Queen Mary’s Military Hospital. These lanterns remained in place until the afternoon of Remembrance Sunday and provided a poignant reminder of those who lost their lives in the First World War.
A concert led by Joanna Lavelle was held in the village hall. This was followed by a beacon being lit on Whalley Nab; a short firework display lit the sky over Whalley. Meanwhile, Whalley Parish Church was packed on Remembrance Sunday as the service was led by the vicar, the Rev. Jonathan Carmyllie. This was followed by a parade up to the War Memorial; over 1,000 people from Whalley and surrounding communities braved the pouring rain to attend the Act of Remembrance. After the service the parade returned to Whalley Abbey for a community lunch followed by a concert given by the East Lancs Concert Band. Fundraising enabled Whalley Remembers to donate £10,000 to the Royal British Legion.
Coun. Clifford Ball, co-ordinator for Whalley Remembers, said: "Since February last year we have been made aware of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and of the Normandy Memorial Trust. Research carried out by local resident, the late George Hardman, shows that servicemen from Whalley and surrounding villages were involved in the Landings. Whalley Remembers has therefore donated £700 to the Trust. None of this could have been achieved without the sterling support and effort by a small team of volunteers. So, we went beyond meeting its objectives in marking the centenary of the WWI Armistice, we also contributed to the D-Day Landing Memorial commemorating the Allied Servicemen who lost their lives in the largest sea landing ever mounted. Our communities can be very proud of their achievements!"