Park’s family day for Somme centenary

Friends of Pennington Hall Park chairman Trisha Taylor and George Taylor at the popular green space ahead of this weekends Somme event
Friends of Pennington Hall Park chairman Trisha Taylor and George Taylor at the popular green space ahead of this weekends Somme event

Residents will remember those who served at the Somme with a packed day of events in a Leigh park to mark the battle’s centenary.

Volunteers for the Friends of Pennington Hall Park have put together an impressive list of activities and ceremonies to mark the events of 100 years ago.

“It’s a celebration, it’s not about sadness. It’s about bringing all age groups together to remember those who have given so much.”

Trisha Taylor

The centrepiece of this weekend’s commemorations will be the laying of wreaths at a stone unveiled in the popular green space last year, with Wigan Council leader Lord Smith, the High Sheriff of Manchester and the Mayor of Wigan Coun Ron Conway being joined by veterans’ groups.

The rest of the day will be less sombre with nostalgic World War One displays including a tank and a bunker, music and stalls.

Friends’ group chair Trisha Taylor said: “It’s going to be absolutely marvellous and we’re now just hoping and praying for good weather.

“We’ve put the event on because of the support we’ve had from the community. It’s been overwhelming and I hadn’t realised how significant the war is in people’s hearts.

“It’s a celebration, it’s not about sadness. It’s about bringing all age groups together to remember those who have given so much.”

The Somme commemoration follows last year’s hugely-successful event at the park which was part of the borough-wide events marking 100 years since World War One.

Activities this weekend include a field gun demonstration, a veterans’ five-a-side football match and morris dancing, while music will be provided by Bolton Caledonia Pipe Band, a brass band, the Anvil Street Drummers and the George Formby Ukulele Society.

The event is supported by Wigan Council, which is spending £250,000 on marking the war’s centenary between 2014 and 2018.

Wigan Council lead member for armed forces, Coun Paul Kenny added: “We need to do all we can to teach our younger generations about the past and the importance of the armed forces.

“I urge everybody to come along and enjoy the commemorations while reflecting on the importance of the day.”

The Somme centenary event at Pennington Hall Park is on Sunday August 14 from 11.30am until 5pm.