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Accrington’s Countdown to Christmas goes off with a Bang

THURSDAY 30 November saw over 9,500 people gathered on Broadway for Accrington’s annual countdown to Christmas and fireworks event!

Organised by Hyndburn Borough Council, the countdown to Christmas and fireworks show was a super success and a treat for all the family; with a live music show, Christmas funfair, Christmas Craft Fair, an enormous snow globe in the town centre, and so much more.

The packed programme started with local talent Claudia Thompson taking to the stage, followed by an appearance from Accrington Stanley’s Max Stryjek and his side-kick Winstanley. Max told the crowd how he was “excited to be invited to the event” adding that he is “proud of all that Accrington Stanley do within the community” and he really wanted to be a part of it.

Performing live on stage after the appearance from Max were The Voice Kids’ Brooke Layla and Britain’s Got Talent’s Mr Zip and Ella Shaw – all of whom had the crowd singing and dancing! Throwing it back with their huge hit ‘Agadoo’ were Black Lace, followed by 2016 X-Factor stars Sam Lavery and Ryan Lawrie.

Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn Council, said: “What a fabulous live event! Over 9500 people gathered on Broadway to start the countdown to Christmas in #AmazingAccrington!”

The event was sponsored by Duckworths Estate Agents and Accrington and Rossendale College.

Jennifer Taylor, Manager at Duckworths Estate Agents, about their reasoning for sponsoring the event this year. She said: “We chose to get involved for both company and community reasons. We celebrate our 140th year this year and it’s thanks to the people around this area that we have been so successful; we want to make sure we give back. It also gives us a chance to get the lettings and sales departments together. After the success of last year’s event, we knew it would be a missed opportunity if we didn’t sign up to do this.”

Gail Mitchell, Business Engagement Advisor at Accrington and Rossendale College, said: “We are just so looking forward, as a college, to getting in to the Christmas spirit. We chose to sponsor this event as we are keen to get involved with the community as much as we can. People are really embracing the idea of the new courses we are offering at the college and we’re expecting a huge influx of new students in the next academic year which is so exciting. We believe that being involved with such events will create more of a community connection.”

Of course, a countdown to Christmas wouldn’t be complete without Santa! Inside Accrington Town Hall there was a simply stunning Santa’s Grotto, where children could visit Santa and two of his helpers to share their Christmas wish lists and find out if they were on the naughty or nice list! They also received an early Christmas present to take home.

Councillor Clare Cleary, Cabinet Member for Accrington Town Centre, said:

“The Christmas Countdown last night was a real team effort with fantastic collaboration from Hyndburn BC staff, Leisure Trust Staff, Scott Dawson, 2BR & the Police.  The hard work on the night and in the months leading up to it led to a very well organised safe event that sets Amazing Accrington as having the premier Christmas event this year.”

The evening culminated with a spectacular show of fireworks lighting up the night sky above Accrington in a colourful extravaganza. The ‘snow’ fell and Children gazed in wonder as parents smiled in awe …

The event was the perfect combination of Christmas and community spirit with a sprinkle of laughter, a dash of dancing, and plenty of smiles. It was the perfect beginning to the festive season.

For full details visit www.amazingaccrington.co.uk

More pictures and fireworks please click here. All pictures courtesy #AmazingAccrington website

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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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