Accrington is set to host a series of events over the weekend of 10th and 11th November, starting with the opening the new Town Square on 10th November, followed by ‘Battle’s Over, a Nation’s Tribute’ on 11th November, commemorating the centenary of the end of World War One.
Visitors to Accrington over the weekend will be able to research the history of Accrington Pals in their family, via an interactive screen in the Accrington Pals room in Accrington Town Hall. The dynamic database of the Pals has been painstakingly gathered over many years by Walter Holmes, renowned local Pals historian, who worked closely with the late William Turner, author of many books about the Accrington Pals.
On Saturday 10th November, the Town Square will be officially opened at 11 am and proudly dedicated to the memory of the Accrington Pals and all those from the Borough who fought and fell in the First World War.
Next door, in the historic Market Hall, a stunning poppy cascade made by local groups, schoolchildren, organisations and individuals will take pride of place, where an exhibition featuring the ‘Extraordinary Women of Accrington’ will be open throughout the day.
Broadway will host a number of vintage themed fairground rides alongside “old fashioned” food and games stalls. The Town Square will play host to a genuine vintage bus decked out in original Accrington colours, along with a World War One truck and a barrel organ playing period music.
On Sunday 11th November, Accrington, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, will mark the day 100 years ago when the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War, by taking part in ‘Battles Over, A Nation’s Tribute,’ joining in a series of unique national events running from early morning right through to the evening.
The day will begin at 6 am outside the Town Hall when a lone piper will join others across the country to play ‘Battle’s Over – Sleep in Peace’.
At 10.45am a Service of Remembrance will be held at the Cenotaph in Accrington’s Oak Hill Park, followed by a parade to Accrington Town Hall at 11.30am. Free transport leaves at 10 am from Accrington Bus Station (Bay 11) for anyone needing a lift to and from Oak Hill Park. There are other Remembrance Services running throughout Hyndburn too, see www.hyndburnbc.gov.uk for details.
At 2 pm, renowned local actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and other actors will perform a special reading of the Accrington Pals play in Accrington’s Town Hall ballroom. The performance is free and tickets are being snapped up fast through Eventbrite.
Along with all other towns and cities taking part in ‘Battles Over, a Nations Tribute’, at 6.55pm a lone bugler will play the Last Post and later at 7 pm beacons of light will shine out from the Town Hall balcony whilst local churches ring out their bells for peace, before the Town Cryer, proclaims a ‘Cry for Peace’ in the Town Square at 7.05pm.
Later from 7:30 pm Accrington Market Hall will become the canvas for a spectacular one-off 3D film projection, running at 20-minute intervals throughout the evening until 10 pm and featuring the story of Amazing Accrington, reflecting Accrington’s people, places and history.
Council Leader, Cllr Miles Parkinson, said; “This is a big weekend for Accrington, when the brand new Town Square will be officially opened ready to host a series of events, not only over the weekend of 10th and 11th November, but also in the months and years to come. The 11th November marks one hundred years since the end of World War One and Accrington, the smallest town to raise a battalion of Pals, will join other towns and cities right across the country in a series of unique events, in ‘Battle’s Over, a Nation’s Tribute’. There is so much going on, including a reading by Julie Hesmondhalgh and other actors of the Accrington Pals Play and the spectacular one-off 3D film projection onto the Market Hall, featuring local people, on Sunday 11th November. So please come along to Accrington on the weekend of 10th and 11th November and be part of Accrington’s past, present and future.”