February 2015: Students pay respects at Pals’ service

RESPECTS were paid by Haslingden High School students at the Valedictory Service for the Commemoration of the Accrington Pals

History teacher Mandy Pollard and 10 students from Years 10 and 7 observed the ceremony at the Pals Chapel at St John’s Church in Accrington.

The braved a blizzard to witness cadets and The Royal British Legion representatives carrying standards into the church and Captain Shelley Whitehead recounting what happened to the pals.

Mrs Pollard said: “I loved the sermon given by the Bishop of Burnley who referred to the Pals as being an exemplary indication of a love and friendship between communities.

“It was also very moving to see descendants of the Pals regiment light candles in their honour.”

Laurie Ashcroft, 15, said: “I attended last year and I think it is important to remember the people who came before us because if we don’t remember then, who will?”

Annie Ryder, 15, was impressed by how full the church was. “It was so nice to see so many people attending and giving their time to remember,” she said.

“We are thankful for them fighting for us,” said 15-year-old Charlotte Walmsley. “This country wouldn’t be the place it is today without them, it would be very different.”

The students also watched as the TOC lamp was lit.

Mrs Pollard explained: “This is lit every year at the ceremony in commemoration of the lamp of maintenance that was burning in the Talbot House Chapel where soldiers who would go irrespective of rank to relax and worship.

“This became shortened to TOC H. After the war, this sense of friendship was continued in the establishment of the TOC H Fellowship that carried on the idea of fellowship and service in their local communities.

“In our lessons and in our Remembrance Services we are never very far away from the story of the Pals.

“This commemoration would have been 100 years from the point at which the Battalion left Accrington to go off training, via Egypt and then onto the pages of history in 1916.”