Visitors to Rochdale town centre will now be greeted with a colourful reminder that this year marks 100 years since the beginning of World War One. The new commemorative flowerbed was installed in Broadfield Park following a week of events in the lead up to Armed Forces Day.
Councillor Alan McCarthy, Lead Member for Armed Forces, said “All the events and activities that took place in the week before Armed Forces Day really started to build awareness of the fantastic and courageous work our Armed Forces do to keep us safe. It’s fantastic to be able to continue this good work and remind everyone who visits the town just how important it is to remember the sacrifices made for our freedom.”
The flowerbed, which measures a whopping 12m by 5m, has been installed below the John Bright Statue in Broadfield Park, creating a highly visible landmark to all traffic travelling down Manchester Road. Designed with the image of the classic poppy and a simple ‘1914 – 2014 Centenary’ message, the flower bed is part of a series of World War One events.
Commemorative flowerbeds will also be created in Heywood and Middleton, with two tiered planters being placed at each of the cenotaphs in Littleborough and Milnrow.
August 4, exactly 100 years after the declaration of war, will see reflection ceremonies take place across the borough, culminating in ‘Lights Out’ - a mass public event aiming to echo Sir Edward Grey's famous epitaph "the lamps are going out all over Europe".
The famous Todmorden to Rochdale march by the Lancashire Fusiliers will be re-enacted on August 10 while the Corps of Drums will have a dedicated stand at Rochdale Feel Good Festival.
Sultan Ali, Chair of Rochdale Township Committee which provided funding for the flowerbed, said “Commemorative events are happening across the borough between 2014 and 2018 and we hope to engage our communities across Rochdale borough. School children have been provided with poppy planting packs from the Council and Armed Forces charities and voluntary groups are also getting involved. The Great War affected the lives of many families in the Rochdale borough it’s important that we reflect and remember the huge sacrifices of our Armed Forces and their families.”
The council signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2012 – a statement of support between a civilian community and its Armed Forces community. But actions speak much louder, and Rochdale has been nationally recognised by the Ministry of Defence, Royal British Legion and others for introducing pioneering changes to support armed forces personnel and their families back into civilian life.
For more information on Armed Forces events, World War One commemorations, or about signing the covenant visit www.rochdale.gov.uk/armedforces, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01706 926989.
Notes to Editors
Details of Rochdale Borough Council’s World War One commemorations can be found at www.rochdale.gov.uk/WW1Events
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