Less than two months after unveiling a statue to the Chorley Pals, the charity behind the memorial have been awarded funding for a major remembrance project in the town. The Chorley Pals Memorial, founded in 2007 by the town’s MP, Lindsay Hoyle, and local historian and author, Steve Williams, have been awarded £52,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to pay for the development stage of the “Chorley Remembers” project.
A major feature of the two-year project will be researching and placing the names of the fallen from Chorley onto the town’s Cenotaph in Astley Park. Once initial research has been completed, an application will be made for a further £250,000 of funding to pay for the work, as well as work on preserving the 1914 -1918 Memorial Arch at the entrance to the park, improving access and interpretation around the Chorley Pals memorial site and up-grading facilities at Astley Hall where the small memorial room only features the First World War.
Other works will include encouraging individuals and groups to research their military history, stage workshops and exhibitions, and provide an education / teaching resource pack for the 56 primary and secondary schools in the town; a heritage trail, a ‘drop-in’ desk at the main library and a dedicated website. There are plans to have a Festival of Remembrance in the town during November 2011, publish a book about the men and women from the town who died in conflicts – ranging from the Boer War in Victorian times to Afghanistan today, as well as recording people’s memories on video and audio formats.
The official launch of the project will be in May, after the General Election. In the meantime, Project Co-ordinator Steve Williams will begin work setting up the infrastructure for the project including a working group that will include local organisations and individuals key to the project’s success. Chorley Council, who manage and maintain many of the remembrance related assets in the town, are fully supportive of the project, as are staff from Chorley Library, local teachers and volunteers from the Chorley branch of the Lancashire Family History Society, the British Legion and Chorley Ex-Services Association.
Commenting on the award, Lindsay Hoyle said “I said at the Pals Memorial unveiling in February that our work will continue and we are pleased to keep that promise. The Pals statue created so much interest in the town and I know this new project will capitalise on that interest and put Chorley to the forefront in understanding and preserving its heritage”.
Echoing those sentiments, Steve Williams said “We want more people in the town, young and old, to have a greater understanding what local men and women, and their families, went through in the numerous conflicts over the years. During the last three years Chorley people have supported the Pals memorial and this new heritage project will enable them to find out more and, importantly, encourage them to get involved in learning about the town’s social and military history”.
Details can be found on a new website, www.chorleyremembers.org.uk, which will go on-line next week.