Memorial bench and silhouette soldier to be unveiled in Bacup

A COMMEMORATIVE bench and silhouette soldier statue will be unveiled in Newgate Gardens, Bacup, the ‘hidden gem’ next to town’s museum.

Bacup Natural History Society and Museum, based on Yorkshire Street, has been hosting a series of events since 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Nat secretary Wendy Watters successfully secured three Heritage Lottery Fund grants, which have paid for major developments at the museum.

She said: “On Easter Saturday April 20, we will be holding another Meet the Tommy event when Scott Knowles will come dressed in period uniform and he will stage a First World War display. At 11.30am the ceremony will take place in Newgate Gardens, next door to The Nat, and we have invited Pat Smith and Andrew Walmsley from Bacup Pride to do the unveiling.

“We had 32 members of The Nat who served in the First World War, but five did not come home – these were brothers Fred and Frank Horrocks, William Pickup, Alex Pounder and Samuel Myerscough. The latest successful lottery bid was for a Sharing Heritage grant and the bench and statue will be in memory of those five.

“Newgate Gardens really is a hidden gem. Bacup Pride do an outstanding job taking care of the steep flower beds that lead to the gardens and inside there is so much of Bacup’s history to explore. On Bacup Nat’s website there is a pdf available that people can download so they can find out the history behind the stones and artefacts that are contained in the garden.”

The Britannia Coconutters have agreed to take time out of their very busy boundary-to-boundary dance on Easter Saturday to call in at Newgate Gardens in the afternoon to dance. Heritage Lottery grants have led to developments at the museum including the Fern Hill Room, which captures a scene from Fern Hill Auxiliary Hospital that was based in Stacksteads during the First World War and looked after soldiers who had been injured in action.

Mrs Ibbitt’s Shop and parlour was also created in an underused storage room and ongoing work has been carried out with primary school pupils and uniformed movements. This year marks the 140th anniversary of Bacup Nat – originally known as ‘The Muck and Flea Club’. Events to celebrate that milestone continue throughout the year and have included working in tandem with Bacup and Stacksteads Carnival.

This year organisers BASCO will be celebrating the centenary of the Peace Procession, the forerunner of the present day event, and grants from the Nat have assisted parade entries and shop displays. The Sharing Heritage project will conclude with an event in August at The Nat.

by Catherine Smyth Media

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