BURY will come to a standstill as the town marks the centenary of the start of World War One.
The highlight of a series of events will be a parade and service on Sunday, while the following day, on August 4, the day war broke out, the names of the town’s fallen will be read out at an evening vigil service at Bury Parish Church.
Cllr Mike Connolly, leader of Bury Council who, will be among those who will read out the names of the fallen, said: “This will be an extremely poignant occasion when we remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Many churches will be marking the centenary in their own way with services and commemorations to remember those who fought and died for their country.
Bury’s World War One commemoration programme begins on Saturday with an open day at the town’s Castle Armoury.
Members of the public can attend the free event between 11am and 3.30pm.
Stands will be set out by Reserve Armed Forces, cadet organisations and voluntary groups.
On Sunday, hundreds of people are expected to throng the town centre to witness a parade to Bury Parish Church, a church service and a return parade. Those taking part in the procession will assemble in Knowsley Street at 10.30am.
The first procession, consisting of veterans and Reserve Armed Forces and led by the Band and Drums of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, will move off at 11am.
The second parade, comprising pre-service cadet units, civilian voluntary organisations and led by the Band of 1036 Squadron Air Cadets, will begin five minutes later.
The third parade, involving a civic party led by Tottington Public Band, will leave at 11.15pm.
The church service, which will begin at 11.30am and conclude at 12.15pm, will be presided over by the Rector of Bury, the Rev Dr John Findon.
The service will be broadcast live outside the church for those unable to get in and they will be given copies of the order of service.
Later, the Mayor of Bury, Cllr Michelle Wiseman, will lay a wreath on behalf of the people of the borough while some of those taking part in the return parade will attend a Fusilier Drum Head service in Gallipoli Garden in commemoration of Minden Day.
Sunday also sees the start of Bury Parish Church’s week-long Flower Festival and commemoration. The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, will preach at the 6.30pm service of Holy Communion on the same day.
On Monday (Aug 4), from 7pm, the church will host a Vigil of Commemoration at which the roll call of more than 2,000 names of those from the borough who were killed in the war will be read by Greater Manchester’s Lord-Lieutenant Mr Warren J Smith, the Mayor of Bury, Cllr Michelle Wiseman, together with civic leaders and Fusiliers' representatives.
The names will be read in alphabetical sections, with short breaks in between each. There will be opportunities for those who wish to light candles.
On the same evening, between 10pm and 11pm, a large image of a flame will be projected onto the wall of Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre as part of the national Lights Out initiative.
Next Wednesday (Aug 6) at 7.30pm, Bury Parish Church will feature a free “Pack up Your Troubles” concert by the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Band and Corps of Drums (Lancashire).
Throughout the week, the church will host an exhibition and display of artwork and writing by children from local schools, telling the stories of members of their own families who served in the war. Flower Festival opening times are Sundays (Aug 3 and 10) 12.30pm to 6pm and Monday (Aug 4) to Saturday (Aug 9) 9.30am to 6.30pm.
There is no charge but programmes will be on sale for £3 On Saturday, August 9, Bury Parish Church will stage a “For the Fallen” event — a concert of words and music by Sir Arthur Bliss, George Butterworth, Ralph Vaughan-Williams and others of the WW1 generation.
There will be premieres of two newly commissioned works by Gordon Crosse, born in Bury, and Martin Bussey, now living in Ramsbottom. The music will be performed by local professional musicians, including Clare Wilkinson, John Findon, John Turner, Thomas Verity and Ian Buckle.
The concert has been generously sponsored by The Ida Carroll Trust, The RVW Trust and The Bliss Trust.
Tickets are £5 and entry free for under 16s Tickets can be purchased on the night or from The House on the Rock, telephone 0161 763 7336.
On Sunday (Aug 10), there will be a closing service at the church.