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Leek and the Moorlands Great War Centenary commenoration starts this Saturday

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: July 03, 2014

Pictured next to the Simpson brothers exhibit, from left, are Maria Killoran; Councillor Gill Burton, who has the responsibility for communities at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council; Sybil Ralphs, leader of the authority; and Hannah Barter, co-ordinator of the First World War events.

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AN EXHIBITION charting the impact of the First World War on Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands is set to open this weekend.

The launch of the Leek and the Moorlands Great War Centenary commemorations, marking the start of the conflict 100 years ago, is set to take place on Saturday, July 5.

The event, to be held at the Nicholson Museum and Art Gallery at the Nicholson Institute in Stockwell Street, Leek, will be opened at 10.30am on Saturday, July 5.

The Phoenix Singers will provide a musical reflection of the commemorative project and there will be performances from students at Westwood College, Leek.

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Following the opening visitors will have the chance to tour the community exhibition, which is based around the local history, urban context and social history, and the discovery of events, life and people, before, during and after the Great War in Leek and Staffordshire Moorlands.

The exhibition will continue until December 23.

Hannah Barter, a director of Urban Vision Enterprise, is the co-ordinator of the First World War events planned for the town.

She said: "We have been loaned lots of local memorabilia and family items from the Great War. The exhibition aims to explore the impact of the First World War and how it shaped the historic town of Leek. The events have captured the community's thoughts and schools have been heavily involved in the project.

"It has given young people an opportunity to get involved and learn more about the First World War, which involved some of their past family members.

"We are also organising trips to the North Imperial War Museum for students in Manchester, and tours of the Nicholson War Memorial."

Preparations are also at an advanced stage for a commemorative community parade with historical reference to the first mile walked to war by the Leek C Battery.

This will be held on Saturday, September 13.

A total of 419 young people will take part in the walk to represent the fallen of Leek.

District council leader Sybil Ralphs said: "We want to pay homage to all people of the Moorlands community, to give our thanks for the service they gave in the First World War.

"I am very pleased to see that schools have been involved in the project."

Curator of the Nicholson Museum, Maria Killoran, said: "A bid was put forward to the Heritage Lottery Fund by Leek Town Council in partnership with Staffordshire Moorlands District Council which resulted in £74,600 being awarded to stage the events package.

"We are trying to get the gun which was pulled down Derby Street for the historical walk in September. It believed to be in Berkshire.

"The effect on the town has been brilliant. We know that the youngest who went to war from the town was 14 and the youngest to die was 16."

Other events planned include Great War tea dances in the Nicholson Gallery on Wednesday, July 9, and Wednesday, September 10.

For all details visit the website www.leek1914.org

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