Service of Commemoration of the Centenary of the Outbreak of the First World War

diocese blackburn

diocese blackburnA SERVICE to commemorate the outbreak of war 100 years ago was held at Blackburn Cathedral on Sunday (August 3) when a memorial honouring 72 soldiers who died during the conflict was rededicated.

The memorial, which was installed in the then Blackburn Parish Church in 1920, was dismantled in 1965 when the cathedral was undergoing massive internal rebuilding. Only four bronze plaques containing the names of the fallen and five wooden carvings of angels survived.

But to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of war the memorial was reconstructed by Blackburn firm, Cooper Bespoke Joinery.

All Scott Cooper and wood carver Christopher Blackledge had to go on were old photographs from the files of the Northern Daily Telegraph – now the Lancashire Telegraph.

Scott said: “It was an honour to work on this project. It was a lot of hard work and we only finished drying the gold leaf on the night before the service.”

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson who rededicated the memorial said after the service: “I was humbled and honoured to stand with civic and religious leaders from across the County to remember the fallen from across the County and the impact of their deaths on their families and communities.

“It was also particularly poignant on this day for me to dedicate the reconstructed First World War Memorial in the presence of relatives of some of those commemorated.

“This event marks the start of an extended period of remembrance across the County and the UK as we continue to mark the anniversary of the First World War. That remembrance continues today (August 4) when Church of England parishes across Lancashire will light a special ‘poppy-motif’ candle during vigil services at 11pm tonight, exactly 100 years since the outbreak of war.”

The Sunday service was also attended by a delegation from the German Lutheran Cathedral of Braunschweig, led by the new Dean, Dompredigerin Cornelia Gotz. She said: “It was a special moment of my life to be here. To be able to remember together is a great moment and to sing your National Anthem was fantastic.”

The Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth, read the New Testament Reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Rev Christopher Armstrong told the congregation: “We gather to remember the outbreak of the First World War and the effect it was to have on a generation of the youth of Europe and beyond.

“We remember courage, valour and discipline. We remember too the emotions of communities and families at stations and ports as fond farewells were made.”

During the service area Deans collected candles which were to be placed in each parish throughout the Blackburn Diocese on Monday (August 4) where they were to be lit until 11pm – the time war was declared a century ago.

A vigil was also being held in Blackburn Cathedral at 9.30pm attended by the German visitors.

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