Hundreds gather to honour Burnley’s war dead

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Crowds of people came out to honour Burnley’s war heroes past and present in a poignant Remembrance Sunday ceremony.

Hundreds gathered at the Croft Street war memorial and peace garden to remember the countless men and women who laid down their lives fighting for their country.

Burnley Remembrance Service.

Burnley Remembrance Service.

Stoic old soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder with families, school children and civic dignitaries in silent tribute on a chilly November morning.

A band had led a parade of veterans, serving soldiers and Armed Forces cadets marching through Burnley town centre ahead of the service.

Fr Brian Keeley, of Christ the King RC Church, was joined by the new Bishop of Blackburn Rt Rev. Julian Henderson in leading the emotional ceremony.

Tears were shed as prayers were recited for the town’s war dead from the trenches of the Somme to the deserts of Afghanistan.

The immortal words of poet Laurence Binyon were read out by a member of the Royal British Legion: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.”

A distant bell tolled on the eleventh hour and crowds fell silent with heads bowed as a lone bugler played the mournful “Last Post”.

The town came to a standstill and joined millions of others across the country in a two minutes silence to reflect on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The still that descended on Burnley was punctuated with “The Reveille” before crowds sung “Abide With Me.”

Among dignitaries at the event were Mayor of Burnley Coun. Frank Cant, council chief executive Steve Rumbelow, Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle and Council Leader Julie Cooper.

They each laid poppy wreathes at the foot of the war memorial along with members of the police and Armed Forces, Royal British Legion, school children, councillors and other local figures.

Services of remebrance were also held in Padiham, Hapton, Towneley Park and at the “forgotten” graves of 13 First World War servicemen in Burnley Cemetery.