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A small crowd queued from 8.45 a.m. on Monday January 15th to witness the grand reopening of Oswaldtwistle Library by mayor of Hyndburn, County Councillor Peter Britcliffe.

The library was closed on September 30th as part of cost-cutting measures by Lancashire County Council after tireless campaigning to keep it open failed.

Among speakers at the reopening was Peter Hargreaves who also brought the original key from when the library was first opened by his Great Grandfather, Arthur Hargreaves in October  30th 1915 (Peter is pictured with the key here).
The theme for the opening was “trace your family history,” one of the services offered by “Lancashire Archives” the Preston based County Records service run by Lancashire County Council.

As part of the opening celebrations and to promote the service Councillor Britcliffe was presented with his own Family Tree.
The presentation was made by Katherine Walsh, manager of Accrington library.

It is hoped that the library will be as well used as it was prior to closure as figures showed it had been one of the best-used libraries in the area over the past few years.

It was the home to a readers group, writers group, knit and natter and Children’s Storytime and a regular venue for other local groups.

The building, originally gifted to the people of Oswaldtwistle by Andrew Carnegie is steeped in history and at its 100th Anniversary in October 2015, Oswaldtwistle and Church Rotary reopened the famous stocks in its grounds.

Its reopening is a triumph for everyone who never wanted to see it closed in the first place and a jewel in Oswaldtwistle’s Crown has been happily restored. Councillor Britcliffe summed up the reopening with these words:

"Oswaldtwistle Library is a particularly special library with historic origins and a proud history.

”We're very glad to have our library back and I'm delighted to have the honour of reopening it today.

"There are good reasons why people love their local library.

"They offer something of interest for everyone as well as being a place where people of all ages can meet and get involved in activities."

© Peter Jones 2018  Pictures courtesy of Tracy Simmonds.

Opening times for Oswaldtwistle Library are:

Monday 9am to 5pm
Tuesday 9am to 7pm
Wednesday 9am to 5pm
Thursday Closed
Friday 9am to 1pm
Saturday 9am to 1pm
Sunday Closed




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Iconic Great Harwood landmark, Churchfield House, is set to have new windows soon, thanks to a cash boost from the Council.

Churchfield House was gifted to the Urban District Council by its owner Milton Haydock.   Milton, a former Councillor, left his house, his artefacts and the grounds in the care of the Urban District Council, for the use and enjoyment of the people of Great Harwood after his death in 1926.

The house has undergone many changes since then and now, run by Churchfield House Ltd, this valuable community asset is available for hire and use and is also home to a popular café.

Lynn Wilson, of Churchfield House Ltd, said; “Churchfield House was gifted by Milton Haydock to the people of Great Harwood and Churchfield House volunteers have been really concerned in recent years about the state of the windows, which would not have lasted another winter.”

Council Leader, Miles Parkinson, said; “Churchfield House is a fabulous resource for the local community and the Churchfield House Ltd volunteers have breathed new life into the house by restoring it to its former glory and encouraging as many local people and organisations as possible to use the house.  The windows are in great need of replacement and, as they are in a conservation area, the requirements for new windows are very specific. With this £25,889 boost to replace the windows the house can continue to grow from strength to strength in the capable hands of the volunteers there, for the people of Great Harwood and the whole Borough.”

Lynn added; “We expect work to start to replace the windows soon and are really looking forward to seeing them in place. We’ll remain open throughout, so please pop in, everyone is more than welcome.”

Council Leader, Cllr Miles Parkinson Presents The Cheque To Lynn Wilson Of Churchfield House

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Ernest Capstaff, who died earlier this month at the age of 101, whose only surviving relatives  were his niece and her husband was the subject of a Facebook appeal which was shared thousands of times, to ask people to attend his funeral and give him the send-off he deserved.

Second World War veteran Ernest joined the Royal Navy in 1945 as a technician fighting the Japanese Imperial fleet alongside the Americans, although he rarely spoke about his experiences.

He was a chemical engineer by trade and it is reported he was given a secret mission to produce white concrete. Although it was never officially acknowledged it was speculated it had something to do with making decoys of The White Cliffs of Dover.
The appeal went viral to many of the Armed Services and uniformed organisations and hundreds of people attended his funeral in Accrington Crematorium at 12.20 p.m. on Thursday October 26th.

As well as veterans, cadets and civic dignitaries, dozens of members from the Ride to the Wall group attended on motorbikes from around the country.

Royal British Legion standard-bearers greeted the flag-draped coffin which was carried in to the chapel as Vera Lynn’s wartime favourite “The White Cliffs of Dover” echoed through the autumn air. Clitheroe Funeral Services officiated as that is the town Ernest lived in his later years.

The hundreds of mourners, many bedecked in regimental ties and berets, listened via loud speaker outside the chapel to the eulogies paid to Mr Capstaff.

Born in the North East of England during WW1 he then went to live in New Zealand. Before WW2 he decided to visit the South Pole. Not being able to find anyone to go with, he went on his own. Then he visited the North Pole alone also.

Mourners heard how Mr Capstaff was a very intelligent man who had invented structures during his time in the navy.

After the war he met his wife Rhoda at a cycling club and enjoyed over 60 years of marriage, getting his first of two telegrams from the Queen. Ernest received the second one on his 100th birthday.

A man with a great sense of humour he was said to always have a twinkle in his eye and would playfully hold two fingers up when being photographed.

The service ended with Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again” and “Wish Me Luck” before “The Last Post” was played as the Legion members poignantly lowered their standards.

Mr Capstaff’s family, who said they were overwhelmed with the support, invited everyone to attend Platt Social Club in Accrington for the wake.

Apparently Ernest and Rhoda’s favourite pastimes, according to a television report were sailing, photography and gin.


© Peter Jones 2017 Pictures by Tracy Simmonds


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Families now have more options for commemorating their loved ones at Accrington Cemetery, with the installation of a new Stone Book of Remembrance in the Rose Garden, which incorporates a unique ashes scattering bed with small memorial plaques.

Cllr Ken Moss, Cabinet Member for Cemeteries, said; “The installation of the Stone Book of Remembrance is part of the ongoing improvements to the Cemetery, giving families more options to commemorate their loved ones. Other recent improvements include the refurbishment of the Chapel and moving the Book of Remembrance from inside the entrance to the Chapel to its own building next to the office, to make it easier for people to access.”

Plaques can also be placed in memory of loves ones whose ashes have already been scattered within the Gardens of Remembrance or the Rose Beds.

For more information about the Stone Book of Remembrance and all the options available to commemorate a loved one at Hyndburn cemeteries, please contact the Cemetery Office on 01254 232933 where staff will be happy to help.




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