Padiham children’s poignant tribute to war dead

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Almost 500 primary school children marched to the beat of a drum into Padiham’s Memorial Park for a memorial service to remember local soldiers who gave their lives in the First World War.

They marched, as did the young men 100 years ago, to honour the men they have been studying in the last few months.

Pictures of many of the soldiers who died were mounted along Padiham Greenway, the procession route.

The pupils were from the four Padiham Primary Schools – St Leonard’s, Padiham Green, Padiham Primary and St John’s RC – with each of the 500 children representing 40 of the 20,000 men who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the day on which the memorial service was held 100 years later.

The service, led by the Vicar of Padiham, the Rev. Mark Jones, included presentations by pupils giving the story of some of those who died, a poem, psalm or reading, and the St Leonard’s choir singing “We Will Remember”.

The Rev. Jones spoke of the importance of remembering the past in helping to understand the present and then introduced the singing of a medley of war-time favourites by all the children.

After his closing prayer and two minutes silence “The Last Post” was played by St Leonard’s teacher Tim Mason.

The children then made their way to the memorial in Padiham Park and laid hundreds of wooden crosses, each identifying one of the local soldiers who died in that war.

Eventually more than 4,000 crosses will be laid in the park, and in Towneley Park, to represent the 4,212 local men and one local woman who lost their lives during the conflict.

Mrs Bev Holmes, headteacher of St Leonard’s Primary, said: “To see so many children marching to the beat of the drum and chanting made this a very moving occasion. The whole experience has enhanced the children’s knowledge of the impact of war and how much we owe to those who lost their lives.”




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