ALL Colne’s Primary Schools are getting involved in the final event of the Town Council’s series on The Great War: Colne Commemorates… 1918, which this year will be held on 23rdJune.

Four schools have already received a visit from a WW1 Nurse and Sergeant, both of whom are professional historical re-enactors from Lancashire County Council’s Heritage Learning Service.  This week, Year 6 at Park Primary took part in drill training, including what to do if there was a gas attack.  The children were shown real and replica artefacts from the Great War.  They also learnt in the half-day session how an injured soldier passed through various field and base hospitals to make it back to Blighty, as well as about life on the Front for a typical soldier.  Every child got to join in the demonstrations or play a role, whether it was shouldering the heavy back packs or being carried precariously on a stretcher. Next, the children will look into the effect of the Great War on local soldiers by reading their letters and researching their stories.

Year Six Teacher at Park Primary, Mrs Byrom, said: “These sessions have been really good, with the children constantly engaged in all the things they were learning.  I believe that a lot of avenues for further research on The Great War have been opened up.  We are grateful to Colne Town Council and to the Heritage Lottery Fund for giving our children this memorable opportunity.”

Pupil, Bradley Hopson, said: “It was fun and I was amazed to learn about the nine stages of recovery Tommies underwent. Classmate, Cameron Petty, explained: “It was certainly very different from the movies and it was fascinating to see and handle the equipment and weaponry.”

Cllr. Sarah Cockburn-Price who, with event co-ordinator, Ele Jolley, has been heavily involved in the planning of the project, commented: “I hope as many of Colne’s children as possible will be joined by their families on 23rdJune to experience our thought provoking installations throughout the town.  There is so much to do and see; it will be hard to fit it all in!  Our programme schedules are being published this week and will shortly be widely available.  Our big surprise will be revealed to the whole of East Lancashire this weekend, but until then, we are keeping everyone guessing.”

The day begins at 11.15 a.m. with a parade through the town from the British Legion to the War Memorial.  After a short service there, a lone piper will herald the rest of the day’s events. As in previous years, The Hippodrome is hosting two spectacular re-enactments – one about the dangers of flying with a two thirds scale replica of a Sopwith Camel and a second about the importance of tunnelling with the expertise of The Royal Engineers.

This year, the authentic Convalescent Home has moved to The Ambulance Hall, while passers-by outside The Muni had better watch out, because the fearsome drill sergeant willbe putting them through their paces! In addition, visitors to The Trinity Baptist Church willhave an opportunity to meet a tank sergeant on the hour alternating with a chance to meet a munitionette on the half hour.

Hartley Square has scouts in period uniforms demonstrating the art of semaphore and other wartime communication.  Throughout the town is the Blue Plaque Trail, explaining the purpose of over 200 buildings in Colne a century ago.

The Little Theatre boasts an action-packed schedule, with theatrical pieces and songs from the period, as well as films and newsreels.  St Bartholomew’s Church is hosting an exhibition entitled: “By Bus to the Western Front”, giving children the opportunity to try out games of the period, as well as hosting performances by its choir, The Parish Pearls.

The Town Hall is offering children’s crafting, an opportunity to visit a period photographer’s studio in the Mayor’s Parlour and an exhibition by children from the town’s primary schools.  The Indoor Market and Glass Box will have two exhibitions, as well as The Colne WW1 Memory Wall, which has been in situ for the last four years.

The Library will also be a hive of activity, with a series of fashion shows of Styles from the Great War and Trawden String Quartet. Throughout the town during the day will be music and dancing from 1918.

On the evening of Wednesday, 25thJuly, Colne Town Council is staging The Colne Grand Prix Cycle Race sponsored by Fort Vale.  Once again, Colne’s main race has the honour of closing the British Cycling race series and it is always a thrilling evening.  The Town Council’s events are also listed on the Colne Town Council Facebook page and on the its website:

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