Why we must never forget

War memorial, Rydings Park, Brighouse
War memorial, Rydings Park, Brighouse

THE act of remembrance in Brighouse is being threatened by a lack of volunteers.

The town’s branch of the Royal British Legion, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, could fold unless more members get involved.

While services of remembrance are well-supported by the public in Brighouse, Rastrick and Bailiff Bridge on or around November 11, there is a desperate need for more people to get involved in organising poppy collections and wreath-laying ceremonies.

Mr Keith Iles, chairman of the Brighouse branch, said: “Our members are gradually getting older and sadly dying. Without members we run the risk of losing 90 years of Royal British Legion representation in Brighouse.

“Having more members would definitely give us more clout when it comes to getting grants. It’s getting to the stage where, if we don’t get new members, the nature of the British Legion will completely change.”

Mr Iles said there was a desperate need for more young people to get involved.

“We have meetings every couple of months and ask only that members will be prepared to get involved and help out at such times as Remembrance Day.”

Poppy sellers are needed again this year and should meet at Brighouse Rest Centre tomorrow, Friday, at lunch-time.

“We are in desperate need of volunteers. Last year we made £9,000 for the work of the Royal British Legion from poppy collections and it would be fantastic to exceed that amount in our 90th anniversary year,” said Mr Iles.

“If any scout groups, guides, cadets or youth groups would like to get involved, they can contact me on 01484 713398.”

The act of remembrance at Bailiff Bridge Memorial Gardens on Sunday will be marked this year by the unveiling of two special plaques dedicated to the dead of the second world war and more recent conflicts.

The plaques have been designed and made by Robert Silkstone. His father, Malcolm Silkstone, who organises the event at Bailiff Bridge, said: “Since the war memorial was put up by Firth’s in 1921, it is the dead of the first world war who have been commemorated. We wanted to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the second world war and indeed in more recent conflicts,” said Mr Silkstone.

Last year more than 600 people attended the remembrance day service at Bailiff Bridge. This year 24 wreaths will be laid at the war memorial and school children, members of scouts and guides organisations and Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker will take part.

“It is very important that the act of remembrance continues,” said Mr Silkstone.