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Lights went out through our town

Durng the dedication of the new Ribchester War Memorial, names of the fallen were read out by Irene Hutchinson and John Dickinson  both had relatives who did not return from the Great War and from the Second World War.

Durng the dedication of the new Ribchester War Memorial, names of the fallen were read out by Irene Hutchinson and John Dickinson  both had relatives who did not return from the Great War and from the Second World War.

The lights went out over Longridge on Monday evening, commemorating the hour from 10pm to 11pm which marked the start of the First World War 100 years ago.

Candles were lit in many homes throughout the area, matching the nationwide observance.

The candle glows added to those lit in St Lawrence’s parish church for the commemoration service, when the lives and families of the 52 local servicemen, aged between 19 and 42, who fell in World War One, were remembered.

They are buried in Longridge and cemeteries overseas and their names were read out before members of the congregation which filled the church took their candles to be laid on the altar.

Commemorative services were also held in Ribchester, where the new war memorial was dedicated, in Chipping where the three churches joined for the commemoration, and in Hurst Green where a Lights Out ceremony was held.

Ribchester’s first war memorial finally dedicated a century on. . .

More than 300 people gathered at Ribchester to watch the dedicatuion the village’s new war memorial.

The official unveiling was carried out by the patron of the Ribchester War Memorial Association – the group formed to create this new memorial – Sir Peter Openshaw.

The association raised £25,000 in just over 12 months to hit their fund-raising target and target date for the War Memorial.

It was a moving ceremony which started with the standard bearers being escorted to the War Memorial by Royal British Legion Parade Marshall David Eltman.

Hymns O God Our Help in Ages Past and I Vow to Thee my Country were sung and a selection of poetry read.

The memorial’s architect made a speech, as did RWMA chairman Roy Skilbeck and the Rev Gill Henwood dedicated it on behalf of all the Ribchester churches.

The names of all the village men who fought and died in both world wars were read out and the ceremony concluded with the Last Post; Reveille; the laying of wreaths and the reading of the Kohima Epitaph by RWMA committee member Paul Cronshaw, before concluding with the National Anthem.

But Ribchester not only held the dedication ceremony on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

Throughout the village, wreaths of poppies hung on the doors of the homes once inhabitated by the young men who went off to fight in both the First World War and the Second World War and failed to come home.

Each wreath carried their name, with whom they served and where they are buried or remembered, if their grave was unknown.

Monday evening then saw the driving force behind the formation of the Ribchester War Memorial Association and new War Memorial, village resident Roy Skilbeck, giving an illustrated talk.

He spoke on his researcg and booklet entitled “Village Pals” chronicling as much of the knowledge he has been able to gather about the young men from Longridge and District who served with the 170th Brigade of the 57th Division during the First World War.

The village hall was filled to capacity to hear the talk which was followed by the vigil service of “Solemn Commemoration” at neighbouring St Wilfrid’s Church.

This was described by the Rev Gill Henwood as “very moving” and followed the structure of the nationally led vigil at Westminster Abbey, also followed by other churches in the area.

As candles were extinguished nationally, so too were those in St Wilfrid’s and Gill felt the vigil – with poetry and Bible readings, as well as a letter written to the Unknown Soldier by Ribchester St Wilfrid’s pupil Tia Kilshaw-Seal, read by her grandmother – went some way to creating a strong connection in the vilage to 100 years ago and perhaps a small glimpse of how the men who left to go off to war might have felt.

“But it hard to imagine something so awful,” said Gill, adding: “There was also a sense of timelessness.”

 

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