Over 350 people visited Chorley’s newest attraction, the Chorley Remembers Experience, at the Coach House in Astley Hall today.
They were queueing up to get in as the town’s Member of Parliament, Lindsay Hoyle, opened the doors at midday.
The local Territorial Army unit and members of the Great War Society were on hand with demonstrations, whilst the project’s mascot ‘Charley Pal’ [pictured above with Project Manager Steve Williams and Lindsay Hoyle] was there throughout the day to welcome everyone – young and old.
Comments ranged from “brilliant”, “stunning”, “very moving” and “the best I’ve seen”, as visitors viewed Chorley’s military history over the years – seeing artefacts, displays and videos, as well as experiencing life in a trench during the First World War.
Project Chairman, Lindsay Hoyle MP, said: “The new exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the contribution of local people to our military history.
“I am delighted to see so many people attend the exhibition on it’s opening day and we have seen families of those who served turn up and donate artefacts.
“It is also welcome to see so many families as we hope the exhibition is going to be a vital educational resource for generations to come.”
He went on to thank all those involved with the project and Chorley Council for facilitating the exhibition at Astley Hall, given to the people of Chorley back in 1921 as the town’s War Memorial.
The exhibition opening saw the culmination of a year’s work for Trustees, staff and volunteers on the Chorley Remembers project.
Every day this week running up to the opening of the new Chorley Remembers Experience on Saturday, we’ll be releasing a video we recorded with veterans and relatives from Chorley talking about how military conflicts over the years have affected them – all illustrating the personal sacrifices many have paid and why we are remembering them.
The videos will appear each day this week on the Video Memories page, where they will then remain indefinitely as part of the ‘Memories’ element of the Chorley Remembers project.
The first video is of World War Two veteran Roy Fisher, who spoke to Steve Williams from Chorley Remembers about his memories during the war.
A rare medal group containing medals of a soldier who saw active service in both World Wars has been loaned to the Chorley Remembers Experience.
The eight medals were awarded to John Green, comprising of two First World War medals, one Army long service & good conduct medal and five World War Two medals.
Warrant Officer Green would have received more campaign medals in WW2 if he had not become a Prisoner of War on Crete in June 1941.
He saw service in the First World War from 1914 to 1919, and a further 23 years “in the colours”, before being finally discharged from the Army in December 1945 – a total of 27 years serving his country.
John Green died in Chorley in 1983, aged 85. The medals and other items of memorabilia have been loaned by his Grandson, Chorley and Lancashire County Councillor Steve Holgate.
If you have any medals and / or memorabilia related to Chorley and area, do get in touch.
A new display case for the three Chorley WW1 Memorial Books has been installed in the recently redecorated Memorial Room at Astley Hall.
It will enable two books to be open (and pages turned regularly to view the names & photographs), whilst the third book with signatures will be kept closed.
A new interpretation board to go in the room, which will feature the work of Chorley schoolteacher Miss Susannah Knight, is going to print after the May Bank Holiday and should be in place by the 15th June.
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