The project is to provide fitting recognition to those buried in Darwen Cemetery as a result of the First World War is an imaginative attempt both to mark this important milestone in Darwen’s history and to act as a spur to the Friends of Darwen Cemetery’s efforts to restore the Cemetery to its former high standard of maintenance.
The facility will be a place for peaceful personal contemplation and will help to bring collective recognition to the individual soldiers buried within sight of it.
Interpretation and education are central to the project, with a very strong emphasis on ensuring that Darwen’s First World War experiences are given due recognition, particularly as Darwen suffered unusually heavily for a town of its size.
Schools pupils and children are very much at the heart of everything we seek to do, with their thoughts and research very much guiding us at every stage of the journey. For example, I was delighted recently to see pupils from Darwen Vale High School and Darwen Aldridge Community Academy researching the town’s role in the First World War at the Lancashire Infantry Museum in Fulwood Barracks, Preston as part of their involvement in the project. Bridging the generations is fundamental to this project, and this was a fine example of how that aim is being achieved.
The project is supported by a cross section of people, including the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Shuttleworth, and engagement with the Heritage Lottery Fund is ongoing. We have a number of organisations providing their services for free, including WCP Associates of Bury who are acting as our project manager and quantity surveyor, and Planit IE of Altrincham who have produced an excellent concept. Blackburn with Darwen Council have been especially supportive. We therefore look forward to undertaking public consultation on our proposals, before making firmer recommendations to the HLF.
With a fair wind we can be confident of delivering the project in 2015
Col. Steve Davies MBE, FODC President
Our first choice for our tribute to our First World War was on the site of the Church of England Chapel (number 1 on the above map) however it was changed to the site of the Non Conformist Chapel (number 2 on the above map) as its higher position over the Cemetery would give the structure a much larger presence.
Looking over the wall into no mans land which will be filled with Poppies.
The view from the seat (above) will be fantastic over looking the rest of the Cemetery.
FODC May 2014