Burnley honours our Armed Forces

Burnley came together to honour the sacrifice of our Armed Forces past and present on a proud day for the town.

Several hundred people flooded the streets of the town centre to pay tribute to soldiers, airmen and sailors from Burnley who have laid down their lives fighting for Britain.

Armed Forces Special Events Day, Burnley.  Army cadets parade. Photo: David Hurst

Armed Forces Special Events Day, Burnley. Army cadets parade. Photo: David Hurst

A poignant service was held a mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War which saw thousands killed from Burnley and Padiham.

Young cadets from the Police, Air Force, Army and Navy stood smartly to attention in rows in front of the stage at the Armed Forces Special Event Day.

Dozens of decorated war veterans stood shoulder to shoulder with serving soldiers and members of the public who came out to pay their respects and join in the commemorations.

As the morning sun shone brightly, the Rev. Dr Alex Baker led prayers and spoke of the sacrifices made by Armed Forces personnel in the pursuit of peace.

Burnley Mayor Coun. Andy Tatchell, who was joined by Mayoress Lorna, addressed the crowds, saying: “We commemorate the anniversary of the First World War.

“This is the first time an event like this has taken place in Burnley town centre and I hope it can become an annual event that we can build on year on year.

“The day is to honour the men and women of Burnley who made the ultimate sacrifice in the two world wars and many other conflicts.”

Burnley Alliance Silver band played “Abide With Me” as crowds joined in with the hymn before a bugler played “The Last Post” and “Reveille” to punctuate a minute’s silence.

The cadets and military personnel then marched down St James’s Street in a parade which was applauded by onlookers.

The Armed Forces Day also saw the youngsters taking part in a drill competition on the square outside the Burnley war memorial.

Wartime songs were sung for the crowds by school choirs from Unity College and Sir John Thursby and local duo Katy and Georgia, along with performances from the Clarets Dance Troup.

There were displays and activities put on by Army Recruitment, the Duke of Lancashire Regiment Association and SALUTE and military vehicles were on show.

Plans are to host the event again next year.

Ray Hogan, chairman of the Burnley and Pendle Ex-Services Club which organised the event, said: “We have been planning this since October last year.

“It was about commemorating the outbreak of the First World War and what they did for us, remembering the peope who were killed

“We have done this to remember them. It is also about acknowledging the job that current serving Armed Forces do.

“We wanted to do something in the town centre so people could have a wander around and enjoy all the attractions we have put on.

“The emphasis was also on the youth of today because they often get a bad press. We got local cadets in who do a lot of positive things.They had a drill competition to show off what they can do.

“It has been a really good day.”