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Time to reflect in an emotional week

Sisters Milly Sayer, nine, and Maisy Sayer, eight, planting crosses for the First World War centenary at Centre Vale Park, Todmorden.

Sisters Milly Sayer, nine, and Maisy Sayer, eight, planting crosses for the First World War centenary at Centre Vale Park, Todmorden.

From bright sunlight to a candlelit vigil, events and services of commemoration, exhibitions and displays marked Todmorden’s remembrance of the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War this week.

On Monday at a Churches Together in Todmorden service held at St Mary’s Church, whose content mirrored that of the national service later held at Westminster Abbey, the lights were dimmed as the service reached its conclusion.

It contained hymns and readings alongside excerpts from soldiers’ diaries and verse penned by war poets including Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, and as people left the service in silent reflection, members of the reformed 1/6 Lancashire Fusiliers formed a guard of honour for them.

Earlier in the day people of all aged gathered in the sunshine as 659 named crosses were planted at the Garden of Remembrance in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, one for each serviceman from the town who had fallen in the terrible conflict.

And later a candlelit vigil, as part of the Royal British Legion’s Lights Out event, was held there with readings from the war poets and the Last Post being sounded at 11pm - the hour that from which, a century ago, Britain was at war.

Darren Widdup of Todmorden RBL, and one of the men who this Sunday will recreate the Todmorden Territorials’ march to muster at Rochdale in August 1914, said the week had been memorable, reflective and emotional.

“The events were very well attended and were emotional, the effect of the period uniforms adding an extra dimension. It was good to see the range of people attending the events from young to elderly, including one man who wore his father’s first world war medals,” he said.

At Vale Baptist Church, Cornholme, a service of commemoration was held on Sunday, during which all the names on the memorial outside, of those in the village who died in the conflict, were read out and over three days an exhibition about the village and the Great War was staged at the church over three days.

A further exhibition put together by Todmorden RBL can be seen at Todmorden Information Centre, Burnley Road, through August.

 

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