COLNE Commemorates the Great War on Saturday, August, 2nd will be the biggest event Colne Town Council has ever staged. Four East Lancashire mayors and their retinues will be attending and organisers are predicting that Colne will be drawing visitors from all over the region.
The day formally begins with a veterans’ and cadets’ parade, which will form up at The British Legion at 9.45 a.m. and march with the Accrington Pipe Band to Colne’s War Memorial where a short service will be held. Organisers are inviting all veterans, cadets and townsfolk to join the parade. “Thousands thronged the streets of Colne a century ago and we want to recreate the feeling of our little town caught up in something massive”, said Colne Town Council Events Committee member, Cllr. Neil Butterworth.
Colne will be plunged back in time to the summer World War One broke out. From Noon, the Gables (behind the War Memorial) will play host to the recreation of an authentic Recruitment Hall. Every hour, “new recruits” will be sought and then put through their paces by Tommies from Lancashire Museums Service. Eleanor Jolley, Colne Commemorates’ event co-ordinator, explained: “People will be hosted by our dignitaries of 1914 Colne, Marilyn Crowther and Alan Hargreaves, and then entertained by some of Pendle’s best-loved and talented performers to put them in the mood to sign up for the Army. Everyone can do their bit, old or young, fit or unfit! Then, try out your co-ordination by learning how to parade under the commanding voice of our WW1 Drill Sergeant.”
The Pendle Hippodrome has been a hive of activity for weeks where a recreation of a 1914 Trench has taken place, courtesy of The Hippodrome’s backstage team. They have transformed the Orchestra Pit with imagination and a little theatrical trickery into a place of sandbags, corrugated iron, barbed wire, duck boards and ammunition boxes. On Saturday, it will come to life with a Tommy facing life at the front complete with the sounds, light and smoke of battle. There is also an allied casualty clearing station complete with WW1 nurse.
As people walk about the town from venue to venue, they should look out for actors from Stage Door, Borderline and Colne Dramatic Society who will be creating snatches of 1914 life to evoke the atmosphere in the town a century ago.
In addition, The Little Theatre will be taken over as a venue for short talks by Geoff Crambie and films about The Great War. The Town Council is even recreating its canteen for those left behind with the original menu in a marquee outside the Market. To capture the day, Colne’s Camera Club is staging a 1914 Photographer’s Studio in the Glass Box in front of the Market. Period costumes are available for families to wear with the resulting sepia prints acting as a memento of Colne Commemorates. The Market is playing host to an innovative sensory experience and The Library is launching its Colne in the Great War exhibition with a Trace Your Family Event. There are many, many other activities, such as WW1 object handling, brass bands and clog dancing, a craft tent for children and a display of the role of animals in the Great War. “Colne Commemorates is a free day for all the family”, said Events Committee chair, Cllr. Dorothy Lord. “We have designed it to appeal to all ages to educate, to entertain, to surprise and to help us all remember what happened a century ago”.