Soldiers on parade as Longridge headteacher prepares for performance marking WWI centenary

Soldier on parade in The Dog Inn, Longridge
Soldier on parade in The Dog Inn, Longridge
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As the countdown begins to  a major  schools’ Remembrance performance at  Preston’s Guild Hall its creator  local headmaster Simon Wallis has said a heartfelt thank you for the support of the local community

Simon, head of Barnacre Road Primary School, has been the driving force behind a series of events and activities, which will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Remembering with Longridge medical staff

Remembering with Longridge medical staff

He also praised the commitment of pupils from local schools.

In all 700 pupils and staff from 15 schools will appear in ‘Armistice The Great War Remembered’ which has been written and directed by Simon. The line up will also include professional musicians, an electric folk group and a soloist from Cheetham’s music college.

It will be performed at Preston’s Guild Hall on Sunday, November 11 at 1.30pm and 7pm. Tickets cost £15 and can still be purchased from Barnacre Road school.

Work by local pupils will be displayed in the Guild Hall ticket office foyer area, telling the story of the war.

Peter Lambert and Sue Cornthwaite from Longridge Timber with one of the soldier figures

Peter Lambert and Sue Cornthwaite from Longridge Timber with one of the soldier figures

Simon also thanked Cath Reid from Lognridge store Oh Sew Crafty for her support for the remembrance project and its own poppy appeal.

He said: “23,000 poppies have been knitted. We’ve had literally thousands of poppies coming in through the post, mainly from across the north of England, some have come from Canada and Australia and some from Cornwall. It’s just gone viral.”

Meanwhile his week some very visible signs of remembrance had the spotlight turned on them in Longridge.

Many of the 100 distinctive black cut out wooden figures forming “The Ghost Soldier’s Silent March” around the town were taken out of their new homes - shop windows, businesses and other premises, to be photographed outdoors by Simon.

Soldier on display at local opticians

Soldier on display at local opticians

The 100 figures are intended to focus the attention of shoppers and passers-by on the sacrifices made by local soldiers a century ago, reflecting the number of people from Longridge and surrounding villages who gave their lives in combat.

A special thank you also went to Sue Cornthwaite from Longridge Timber who provided the wood for the figures and to staff member Peter Lambert who cut them out.

Siumon said: “It’s been a big community effort. The whole community has really rolled their sleeves up. It puts our community - Longridge and Ribble Valley on the map. I’m immensely proud of what everyone’s done.”*

* See The Longridge Cluster Schools Armistice Project Facebook page for full details of the project

Headteacher Simon Wallis and pupils from Barnacre Road Primary school with poppies collected earlier this year

Headteacher Simon Wallis and pupils from Barnacre Road Primary school with poppies collected earlier this year

* There is currently an exhibition of art work about the First World War created by local pupils in Longridge Heritage Centre.

Paying tribute at a local care home

Paying tribute at a local care home