Burnley campaigners call for memorial to honour local Spanish Civil War volunteers

(From left): David Ridehalgh from Burnley Central Library; Chris Keene, treasurer of NE Lancashire TUC; and Charles Jepson of the International Brigades Memorial Trust.
(From left): David Ridehalgh from Burnley Central Library; Chris Keene, treasurer of NE Lancashire TUC; and Charles Jepson of the International Brigades Memorial Trust.

Burnley campaigners are raising funds for a memorial to honour the men and women of Lancashire who volunteered to help the Spanish government during the Spanish Civil War.

Speaking at an event at Burnley Central Library late last month, guest speaker and experts highlighted the significance of Lancashire's contribution during the Spanish Civil War and promoted the need for a memorial to mark their efforts.

Remembering the roles played by a cast of local volunteers, Charles Jepson of the International Brigades Memorial Trust. said that while more work was required to find out more about various figures' involvement in the conflict in southern Europe, their fundraising efforts and tireless campaigns to raise awareness in the late '30s was invaluable.

Stuart Walsh from the Working Class Movement Library spoke of volunteers who worked with the Aid for Spain movement, which raised money to buy a fully-equipped ambulance to ship out to Spain and donated food and other relief to supporters of the democratically-elected republican government - the first people in Europe to fight the wave of fascism which culminated in the Second World War.

The final speaker, Dolores Long, recalled the International Brigades Memorial Trust, which pays tribute to the collective efforts of countless people all over the globe by supporting the installation of memorials. She offered the fullest support from the organisation for a local proposal to establish a memorial in Burnley between Central Library and the Magistrate’s Court.

“We’d like to thank everyone who came to support this event in spite of the torrential rain," said campaign convener, Chris Keene. "The speakers gave an excellent overview of the issues and reasons why this memorial is so important for the people of Burnley and North East Lancashire."

Speaking of the proposed memorial itself, Chris added: "It will commemorate their bravery and commitment to the causes of freedom and democracy. We actively welcome new volunteers to support our campaign so members of the public are encouraged to come to our next meeting at 6.00 pm on Tuesday 27th of August at Burnley Town Hall, when we will be looking at our next steps towards achieving our goal."