We Will Remember Them……..not just each year but all the time

The rain fell, so did a few tears; they came in their hundreds: young, old, the frail, the strong even a few pets.

Some marched, others walked; some carried banners, many brought their brollies.

There were politicians, including Oldham East and Saddleworth MP, Debbie Abrahams, clergy, cubs, brownies, bikers, veterans school children; all attending at Crompton War Memorial with a common purpose.

And all fell silent at the annual Armistice Day service of remembrance, a gathering even more poignant and emotional in 2018 as it marked 100 years since the end of World War One.

An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people turned out in Shaw town centre.

Wet they may have been but this was hardly a sacrifice compared to the lives lost in the ‘war to end all war.’

And all 421 service personnel listed on the memorial from the first and second World Wars were recalled in a special tribute.

Every name was read out, including by four pupils from Crompton House School, at various points round the memorial.

Father Graham Lindley explained: “I thought it important we actually say the names.

“And I knew it was something that would touch people. The idea of placing people around the memorial was that everybody would hear at least some names.”

However, thoughts for those killed in action also transferred to the wounded and maimed, the loved ones who were left behind and to medical staff who cared for all.

Fr Lindley led the call to remembrance while Reverend Katy Cunliffe and Rev Dr Adrian Burdon gave a reading and address to the crowds respectively.

Major Nigel Tansley MBE from the Salvation Army led prayers while there was also a reading of Major John McRae’s evocative, ‘In Flanders Fields’ poem.

Hymns sung and led musically by Delph Youth Brass Band included: Abide With Me, O’Valiant Hearts, I Vow To Thee My Country followed by the National Anthem.

Numerous individuals and groups laid wreaths at the foot of the memorial including Mrs Abrahams and Councillor David Bibby, chair of Shaw and Crompton Parish Council.

Almost on cue the rain poured down as Allan Taylor played the Last Post but the sun eventually poked through the clouds as Shaw and Crompton paid its final tributes of remembrance in 2018.

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