Memorial to heroes of First World War

Fylde folk are being asked to do their bit to ensure a special memorial to the members of the armed forces who died in the First World War.

Thursday, 7th July 2016, 12:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:04 pm
St Annes British Legions Spencer Leader and Harry Wincott with some of the Poppy Crosses

Members of St Annes British Legion will be at the town’s Carnival events in Ashton Gardens this weekend and will offer the opportunity to pay tribute to those from the town who died in the Battle of the Somme and other conflicts.

In exchange for a donation to the Poppy Appeal, they will be offering Poppy Appeal Crosses, which are intended to be used later in the year as part of a field of crosses in tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice a century ago.

A total of 26 men from St Annes – and many more from other parts of Fylde – were lost at the Battle of the Somme which began on July 1, 1916 and saw the loss of almost half a million British servicemen over the following four and a half months.

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Many more died at other stages of the 1914-18 conflict which was labelled at the time as ‘the war to end all wars’ and the aim is to place a cross corresponding to each name on the war memorial in Ashton Gardens in the grass in front of the memorial.

Plans for the field of crosses are at an early stage, but it is hoped it will be launched in September and stay in situ until shortly after Remembrance Day in November.

Local schools have also been written to by the Legion inviting them to get youngsters involved in the project by dedicating crosses to names on the town memorial, which was erected after the First World War.

St Annes British Legion president Spencer Leader said: “The Field of Crosses is intended as a special way to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and the names of those lost there will take priority, but it is hoped that all those who also served in conflicts during the First World War, and any time up to the present day, will be included.”

Spencer, who is known as the Poppy Man after leading the appeal locally since 1978, hopes Fylde folk will again show the renowned generosity which has seen the local Poppy Appeal break records galore in recent years.

The 2015 total was £40,055, eclipsing the previous year’s tally of £38,000, which in turn was £5,000 better than 12 months earlier.

Spencer said: “We are blessed in our area with a caring public who are so generous.”