A POIGNANT day of commemorations saw crowds flock to Bolton town centre to pay their respects to the country’s Armed Forces past and present.

The tributes to servicemen began in Victoria Square at 11am on Saturday with a short service conducted by the Vicar of Bolton Parish Church, Canon Matt Thompson.

After prayers the Last Post was played before the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Martin Donaghy, led a wreath-laying ceremony at the cenotaph.

Following the national anthem a final prayer by Rev Thompson concluded the short service.

Anne Doheny, from Egerton, was among those who attended to pay their respects.

She said: “I think the people of Bolton should be proud — it is a very important day, which is why I wanted to come and support it.

“Everyone, especially the younger generation, needs to know about the sacrifices our soldiers made and think about what they have fought for.”

Geoffrey Lowe, regimental secretary of the Bolton branch of the Duke of Lancaster’s Association, was a standard bearer during the service.

He said: “It is important to remember all those who gave their lives. History should be a lesson, but it never is.”

Throughout the day Victoria Square hosted signalling and drill displays, information stalls, vintage vehicles and an inter-cadet competition.

Family history performances drawing on the diaries and letters of Bolton soldiers were also performed in Bolton Central Library.

Janet Lythgoe, from Heaton, said: “My dad was in the RAF, which is why I have come down. I think it is an important to be here in the town centre, showing my support. It will teach respect for our armed forces.”

A final parade began in Victoria Square at 2.45pm before the Armed Forces Day Flag was lowered at 3pm after a sunset ceremony. Bob Longworth, secretary of the Bolton British Legion, laid a British Legion wreath at the foot of the war memorial.

He said: “Remembering fallen and current servicemen is an important tradition to keep going.”

Cllr Donaghy added: “We remember with pride our armed forces, wherever they may be.

“We will never forget the great commitment and sacrifices they have made, not just for the people of Bolton but for everyone in the UK.”

Copies of Bolton Journal pages showing Bolton soldiers who perished in World War One, on display in The Bolton News windows, are available to buy at the paper’s reception for £1.