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First World War Commemorative Scheme Takes Root

Councillor Ranson at Clitheroe Castle War Memorial Published Monday, 31 March 2014

An ambitious scheme to plant trees in Ribble Valley's 35 parishes in memory of the borough's First World War fallen has been launched.

The Great Wood scheme will see oak trees bearing plaques in memory of the hundreds of young Ribble Valley men who lost their lives during the Great War planted throughout the borough.

Ribble Valley Deputy Mayor Michael Ranson plans to plant the commemorative trees throughout his mayoral year, which starts on 13 May.

Schoolchildren from each parish will be involved in the planting and given poppy and wildflower seeds for commemorative gardens at their schools.

The 100th anniversary of Britain's involvement in the First World War takes place on Monday 4 August, and will herald commemorative events throughout the country.

From 2014 until the 100th anniversary of the official ceasefire, or Armistice Day, on 11 November 2018, communities across the world will come together to remember those who lived, fought and died in the First World War.

Councillor Ranson, who lost a great-uncle in the war, said: "We are all connected to the First World War, through our family history, the fallen in our local communities, or its long-term impact on society.

"I am honoured and humbled to be leading this important campaign to remember Ribble Valley's fallen during my year as mayor."

The First World War was a turning point in world history, claiming the lives of 16million people across the world and having a huge impact on those who experienced it.

Millions of men fought on land, at sea and in the air, with modern weapons causing mass casualties.

As Ribble Valley did not exist until 1974, precise records of the number of fallen in the borough do not exist, but it is believed to be around 1,000.

Ribble Valley Borough Council is now liaising with parish councils on appropriate sites for the trees.

Ribble Valley will host numerous First World War commemorative events over the coming year, including a civic service at St Mary's Parish Church, Clitheroe, on Sunday 3 August. Further details of this and all events will be available at www.ribblevalley.gov.uk over the coming months.

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