The memory of Athertonians who gave their lives in two world wars will forever shine brightly thanks to dedicated campaigners who have lit up the town’s cenotaph.
Atherton Cenotaph Memorial Project group – which includes all the ex-service organisations, local residents, ward councillors, young people and the council’s township staff – have worked long and hard to raise money for the new lights.
They mark the latest phase in efforts to give Atherton War Memorial a setting worthy of its importance.
Along with the lights some £24,000 has been spent over the last twelve months to clean the memorial plaques and stonework and improve the surrounding lawns and stone kerbing.
Extra standing space has been created for one of the best attended Remembrance Sunday parades in the borough, while all the tarmac areas have been resurfaced and finished in an attractive shade of red.
Peter Wilkie, secretary of the Atherton branch of the Royal Naval Association, said:
"The local ex-service organisations have a proud tradition in Atherton and we are delighted to see the improvements that have been made. The lighting has really helped to put the finishing touches to a very attractive, fitting memorial and local landmark."
Most of the funding has come from Viridor Landfill Tax Credits, supported by Atherleigh and Atherton ward councillors’ Brighter Borough funds and Douglas Valley Community Chest.
The group has also received donations from local businesses and organisations, including £500 from St Richard's RC Church who dedicated a Remembrance Sunday collection to the project.
More details can be found on the group's website (external link) or from township manager Pat Keane, tel. 01942 776158
Notes to editors
- The memorial was designed by Arthur John Hope, who became a senior partner in the architectural firm of Bradshaw, Gass and Hope of Bolton in 1902. Mr Hope was a local resident and lived at The Woodlands, Atherton.
- The Cenotaph was constructed in Darley Dale stone, which is fairly rare in the area. Upon each side of the central column are four vertical plaques containing the names of the fallen of the First World War. Around the base of the structure are four further horizontal plaques containing the names of the fallen of the Second World War.
- On Saturday 21st January 1922 the Atherton War Memorial was unveiled by Private J. Roylance, a former soldier of the 1st/5th Manchester Regiment, who had been blinded in action during the Great War. Up to 3,000 people gathered about the monument in Leigh Road to pay tribute to the memory of those who had fallen. (Information courtesy of Atherton Cenotaph Project Group website)