Remembrance Sunday parades have had to be cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But in Bolton, 12 poppy signs with the wording ‘Lest We Forget’ are being painted near war memorials across the borough, or on roads where parades would have taken place.
Bolton is the first location in the country where poppy signs are being painted on the road.
The first four signs appeared last week on Bradshawgate, near the Nelson Square war memorial; Darwen Road, Bromley Cross near the war memorial; Knowsley Street (the nearest location to the Victoria Square memorial), and on Nelson Street (outside the army barracks).
You’ll also find poppy signs near war memorials at Albert Road, Farnworth; Chorley New Road; Church Road/Market Street, Westhoughton; Manchester Road in Kearsley; Market Street, Little Lever, and Scholes Bank, Horwich; as well as on Belmont Road, Astley Bridge (near the Royal British Legion) and Manchester Road, Blackrod (near the cemetery).
Local highways contractor, Kays Traffic Management, offered to install the markings free of charge as a way of helping residents remember those who have died in conflicts around the globe.
“Remembrance Sunday is, for me, the most important day in the civic calendar, and I know how disappointed many residents will be that parades are unable to go ahead this year, and that services at war memorials will not be able to take place as they usually would,” said Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor David Greenhalgh.
“We were delighted when Kays offered their time and support for free and offered to paint these signs.
“This is just one of a number of ways in which we can demonstrate our commitment to never forget our fallen and will be seen by thousands of Bolton’s residents over the following weeks.
“I urge you all to still support the Royal British Legion who have been unable to do the same level of fundraising as normal.”
Armed Forces champion for Bolton Council and ex-serviceman, Cllr Andy Morgan, added: “Remembrance Sunday commemorates everyone who served in the World Wars and subsequent conflicts.
“This year is the first year for decades we are not able to carry out our normal acts of Remembrance.
“So it’s really important that the public think of respectful and innovative ways of remembering veterans, both past and present, such as this generous act by Kays.
“On behalf of all our towns veterans I would to thank them.”
Kays commercial director, Shaun Hargreaves, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer our support as a way of commemorating our war heroes.
“We hope that the road poppies will provide a reminder that although we cannot stand together in remembrance in person this year, we will never forget the sacrifice made by the brave men and women for our freedom.”
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Highways, Councillor Stuart Haslam, added: “We were determined that the sacrifices made by so many were commemorated and we have looked at innovative solutions to mark the occasion in as many different ways as possible.”
Members of the public can watch an online Bolton Parish church service live, on Sunday 8th November, via bolton.gov.uk/remembrance. It will also be broadcast live on Bolton FM.
Wreaths can be laid at any time, at any of the borough’s war memorials, from Remembrance Sunday (8th November) to Armistice Day (11th November).
The council is also encouraging people to mark Remembrance Sunday by taking part in a two-minute silence from their doorsteps at 11am on Sunday 8th November 8.