Wigan is preparing to join the rest of the country in marking 100 years since the end of World War One and we want to turn the town red to commemorate the peace.
Over the next few weeks we will be asking Wiganers and the borough’s organisations and businesses to install large red poppies to remember those who lost their lives between 1914 and 1918.
The Observer campaign has already had a huge response, with council employees supporting the borough’s serving personnel and veterans and the borough’s political leaders on board.
Support has also come from local branches of the Royal British Legion, which brings together those who have served the country on the front line.
Wigan Warriors and Wigan Athletic have also pledged to do their part for the Armistice commemorations taking place in one month.
Preparations all over the country are stepping up for the massive centenary acts of remembrance on November 11 following four years of events to ensure the horrific slaughter of World War One is not forgotten.
Let’s Turn The Town Red takes the idea from a similar commemoration in East Yorkshire where residents and businesses are buying large red poppies to turn the town into a sea of scarlet.
Wigan Council is similarly filling public-sector spaces with hundreds of the dramatic red flowers, while the Observer is taking poppies on the road to increase support for the campaign.
Wigan Council leader Coun David Molynex said: “The ‘Let’s turn the town red’ campaign is a brilliant example of how we can come together to commemorate the sacrifice of our fallen heroes in a visual way, which will be really eye-catching and striking.
“We have a large armed forces community in Wigan borough and we are committed to acknowledging their extreme bravery and dedication in a number of ways throughout the year.”
The local authority’s lead elected member for armed forces, Coun Clive Morgan, added: “We have a variety of visual activity in the pipeline to acknowledge Remembrance Day this year and we’re more than proud to support the Royal British Legion and The Observer to deliver this campaign across the borough.
“The installation of large poppies and our silhouettes is a fantastic way for us to stand in solidarity together, to thank our veterans and serving personnel and to remember those lost over time.”
As Coun Morgan suggests the poppy campaign is just one of a number of special events happening in the run-up to November 11. A number of silhouettes of soldiers from the World War One era are being installed around the parish church shortly before the official commemorations.
The borough’s professional sports clubs, who always commemorate and celebrate the armed forces at matches and other events, are also fully behind Let’s Turn The Town Red.
Rugby league and football stars were keen to take a very quick break from training to be photographed with the poppies.
Warriors’ Head Coach, Shaun Wane, said: “It’s important for everyone connected with Wigan Warriors to show our respect and gratitude to the memory of the fallen and recognise the magnificent role that the Armed Forces continue to play in our community.
“On the centenary of the Armistice, it is right that the whole community comes together to give thanks to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, so we are delighted to support the Observer’s poppy campaign.”.
Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook said: “This is a great campaign and naturally we are delighted to provide our support. It can never be underestimated what current servicemen and women, as well as those over a century ago and since, have sacrificed for us all.”
Schools have also been joining the campaign, with pupils at St Joseph’s in Wrightington one of the first to be pictured with the poppies.
Community-minded residents at St Nathaniel’s Church Community Centre in Platt Bridge have also been doing their bit to turn the town red.
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