A SUMMER of events to commemorate World War One is being organised in Bolton, with the public invited to church services and a candlelit vigil.

As the town remembers its fallen from the Great War of 1914 to 1918, the aim will be to focus on today’s young people.

Cllr John Walsh is organising the special services, which start in June with Armed Forced Week, culminating in Armed Forces Day, with a spectacular display in Victoria Square, and followed a special August weekend.

He is co-ordinating events after being asked by Bolton Council leader, Cllr Cliff Morris, to lead the town’s efforts for the anniversary.

Cllr Walsh, who is also a church warden at Bolton Parish Church and president of the United Veterans, said: “We wanted a series of events that would be appropriate to the occasion and to mark Bolton’s position in Greater Manchester and the region — we have a proud tradition and we want to build on that.”

He stressed the events were to bring everyone together although, he said, there would be an emphasis on young people.

Armed Forces Week starts on Monday, June 23, with a flag raising above the town hall at 11am.

On Saturday, June 28, a five-hour event will be held in Victoria Square involving armed forces and cadets from the borough.

There will be demon-strations, inter-cadet competitions and displays from the armed services, and Cllr Walsh hopes to have an exhibition from schools with a war theme.

The major commem-oration will start in August, to coincide with the declaration of war 100 years ago.

A civic service will be held at Bolton Parish Church on Sunday, August 3, at 6.30pm, led by the Rev Matt Thompson.

There will be a guard of honour in the grounds leading to the church, and again Cllr Walsh wants to make sure as many young people from the cadets, guides and scouts are involved.

He said: “I am anxious to engage as many young people as possible in the event.” At the service a candle will be lit.

The following day, Monday, August 4, there will be a memorial service in Victoria Square at 11am, when a wreath will be laid at the war memorial followed by the firing of maroons and a two-minute silence.

At 10pm, Cllr Walsh will be inviting the public, and anyone who had relatives involved in the war, to join him in the parish church grounds.

At 11pm, the candle lit the previous day will be extinguished to mark the declaration of war. As a memorial, an oak tree will be planted in the grounds.

Cllr Walsh said he was looking for Bolton people to contribute to the occasion by loaning memorabilia and artefacts to be displayed in the church.

“We want this to be as borough-wide as possible,” he added.

  • Anyone wanting to contribute can contact Janet Dickinson, Mayor’s Officer, Mayor’s Parlour, Bolton Town Hall, on 01204 331001.