Pals historian calls for greater support

A First World War historian and author has called for greater support from his local community as he raises funds to place the names of the fallen on his town’s Cenotaph in Astley Park, Chorley.

Steve Williams is Secretary of ‘Chorley Remembers’ and co-founder of the Chorley Pals Memorial charity who run the Heritage Lottery Fund supported project.

Steve Williams polishing his boots in preparation for the sponsored walk on Sunday 14th August

Steve Williams polishing his boots in preparation for the sponsored walk on Sunday 14th August

After helping raise funds for the Pals statue and memorial, unveiled in the town in February 2010, he is seeking sponsorship for a 15 mile walk from Chorley to Accrington, along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath on Sunday, 14th August.

Back in 1914 the Chorley Pals Company of 225 men became part of the Accrington Pals Battalion that were decimated at the Battle of the Somme on the 1st July 1916 and Mr. Williams feels it is fitting to make the walk between the two Lancashire towns next Sunday.

So far he has raised £325 in sponsorship but, much to his disappointment, most of the money so far has come from outside Chorley – from as far afield as Southport and Nelson, as well as a donation from a Councillor from Accrington.

He says “Our project and fundraising appeal has been highlighted in the media, in 15,000 mailshots sent out locally, on our two websites, as well as on Facebook and Twitter and at talks and events since the end of May. We have raised some £3,600 against our target of £20,000 but would appeal to the people and businesses of Chorley to get their hands in their pockets and support our efforts”.

The Chorley Remembers project has to raise the amount as part of matched funding, as they await a decision in September for funding amounting to £270,000 to complete the project in 2012.

Commenting on the appeal for funds, the project’s Chairman, Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle said “Times are a little tough at present but I know how generous the people of Chorley can be. Steve is passionate about this project and works hard promoting it and raising funds. I would ask everyone in the town to support his and our efforts”.

Steve intends to set off from the Chorley Pals Memorial on Union Street in Chorley at 8.30 a.m. and hopes to be at Accrington by 2.00 p.m. Last month he raised £250 for the appeal following a talk at Brindle Community Hall.

A sponsorship form can be downloaded here whilst donations can also be made at any branch of Chorley Building Society.