Burnley Boys' and Girls' Club to honour its 126 fallen members of the First World War

Young members in the memorial garden
Young members in the memorial garden

Burnley's oldest young people’s charities will hold an emotional ceremony later this month in memory of 126 former members who were killed during the First World War.

Burnley Boys’ and Girls’ Club – founded 120 years ago this year – asked artist Rick Goodwin to create a wooden tree sculptor in the club’s grounds, off Barden Lane.

The sculpture, 'Last Soldier Standing', remembers the 126 who died together on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in July, 1916.

Club member and one of the event’s organisers, Rian Caulfied aged 14, said: “I can’t imagine what was going through the boys’ minds as they were getting ready to leave the trenches to fight for king and country. I wonder how many lads of my age would do the same today.”

The sculpture will be unveiled by Lord Shuttleworth, Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, to the sound of the Last Post played by Sgt Geoff Baines of the band of the Lancashire Fusiliers on Friday, October 25th.

The event has been organised by the club’s young members as part of an on-going project to develop the charity and facilities and to raise its profile.

Rian added: “The club is my second home. If it were not for the BBGC, I would not have had the opportunities in life I now have.”

The club has 300 members aged 5 to 19, with 51% girls. Activity sessions include sport, art classes, dance, drama and learning cooking and customer service skills in the new Community Café.

Centre manager Graham Vernon said: “The club has witnessed massive changes over the past 12 months and nearly closed last year. However, because of the new management reshuffle, the organisation has gone from strength-to-strength with the membership quadrupling.”

He added the club was developing its business and fundraising connections to ensure “the charity is active for the next 120 years”.

Other guests at the event include club members, trustees and volunteers, veterans from the Duke of Lancaster and the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, members of the Royal British Legion, the Mayor of Burnley and Burnley Borough Council leader.

There will also be an exhibition of club memorabilia and history.

For more information about the sculptor go to #burnleyswoodensoldier

For more information about the charity go to www.burnleybgc.org.uk or call 01282 424038.