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A Kidsgrove World War One Centenary

Kidsgrove WW1 Grave Stone

A World War One grave stone in a Kidsgrove cemetry.

So I’ve been thinking about what Kidsgrove could do next year for the World War One Centenary. On the 4th August 2014 the UK will begin its candlelit vigils to mark the outbreak of the First World War and to mark the precise moment Britain went to war with Germany. Millions of people died as a result and the Great War left a gap that could never be filled. It’s so important that future generations remember the price we paid as a nation so that we can learn from history.

So why not take our town back to 1914-18?

Kidsgrove remembrance services have always been well attended by the local community. I would hope our local Churches will be joining this occasion to remember those who bravely fought and died for our Town and of course the Country.

I would like to suggest that the Town holds its own Centenary exhibition at Kidsgrove Town Hall. This could include photographs, memorabilia, medals, diaries, uniforms and stories written by residents from the local area. This exhibition would open to the public for a week and an entrance fee of £1 could be donated to the Poppy appeal and Help for Heroes. We don’t have to stop there. We could look at inviting actors to act out the times on stage for visitors and school children. We can tell the story of how our town clubbed together to contribute to the war effort and to support the lads on the front.

The Great War 2014-2018

Lest we forget.

The Town Centre traders would be expected to help with this. We could invite them to dress their windows up in WW1 themes and even dress themselves up for the benefit of local shoppers. The new Kidsgrove Town Team could also arrange for themed markets to be held along Market Street to add to the occasion. Military parades and vintage vehicle shows on King Street Car Park would also add to the theme.

You must have heard the stories of the Christmas Day Truce on the western front. German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches and even played a game of football in a string of unofficial ceasefires on the front. So in light of all this to celebrate a symbolic moment of peace we could arrange a charity football match at the Kidsgrove Athletic grounds. Once again all funds raised could be donated to support the victims of war today.

And finally to end a week of commemoration and remembrance an orchestral concert at the Kidsgrove Victoria Hall would be perfect for residents of all ages to enjoy.

If you have any ideas or would like to get involved please do not hesitate to get in touch with me and the Town Council. Thank you.

Armistice day, King Street, Talke Pits, 11 th November 1918

Standing from left to right are Mr James Lewis, Mr William Lewis, Mr David Taylor, Jack Davis, and Miss Nellie Lewis. Joseph or Richard Kennedy is pictured sitting on the floor on the left, with William Tyler on the right. They are all standing in the Lewis’ doorway in King Street.  11th November 1918.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.

Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Kidsgrove, the Jewel in the Crown


Kyle Robinson with his family at the Kidsgrove Mayor Making.

On Thursday 16th May I was elected Mayor of Kidsgrove for 2013/2014 at Kidsgrove Town Councils Mayor making ceremony.  I am hugely honoured to accept the position and will do my very best. 

My incoming Mayor’s address:

I am hugely honoured in accepting the position of Kidsgrove Town Mayor for a second term.  I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received from the people of Kidsgrove over the last few years. A great deal of what I do wouldn’t have been possible without them.  We have a very special Town and when our community joins together as one, we become a force to be reckoned with. 

I would like to thank Gill Burnett for her valuable contribution to the Town in her year as Mayor.  Gill did a great job in ensuring that Kidsgrove’s Jubilee celebrations, organised for the benefit and enjoyment of people from many different backgrounds, ran smoothly and without complication.  Her fundraising endeavours for the Alzheimer’s disease charity have inspired those more fortunate to do a little bit more for those who are in need.  Thank you Gill.

Things have changed significantly over the past twelve months at the Town Council.  Together we have pushed forward our modernisation programme.  This has made us more accessible to the public.  We have integrated into the Kidsgrove Customer Service Centre making services more easily accessible.  Our new state of the art office offers a wide range of customer service facilities that we could have only dreamt of in the past.  We are putting Kidsgrove first!

Kidsgrove’s Youth Parliament has gone from strength to strength.  The parliament was officially opened by Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow back in 2012.  The young people have now put together a project to fund new flower beds at the junction of Liverpool road and Gloucester Road for the enjoyment of everyone in the town.  We have so many passionate young people in our community and we should be really proud of them.  I’m looking forward to co-ordinating and working with the youth parliament with the aim of maintaining its continued success. 

I will now discuss what I would like achieve in the year ahead, for both the town and the people of Kidsgrove.  I have put together some pledges that I believe are achievable for Kidsgrove over the next 12 months. 

Firstly, I pledge to obtain a defibrillator, through sponsorship, for every primary and secondary school in Kidsgrove.  I recently unveiled a Defibrillator at a Kidsgrove Lads and Dads event with Julie Bostock.  Julie’s son Liam Wood died on the football pitch after celebrating a goal and suffering from a severe seizure.  His memory lives on through all of the fundraising we will do over this year.  These life saving pieces of equipment should be in every School building to avoid unnecessary fatalities of both children and adults.  Now that I have been appointed Mayor, I intend to meet with representatives of national campaign groups to lobby the government to introduce and implement legislation to make it mandatory for all schools to have a defibrillator on site.  We must never allow finance to take priority over someone’s life. 

Secondly I am launching a Town Council campaign to crack down on dog fouling in all our wards.  Working collaboratively with officers of Newcastle Borough Council, together we are creating a project that will encourage dog owners to take responsibility for cleaning up after their pets.  We will be going door to door to ask dog owners to sign up to the project and promise to work with us to make our streets cleaner.  More will be revealed in the coming months but we are positive the Town Council can make a difference on important issues that matter to local people.

Finally I turn to my charity of the year. As Deputy Mayor, earlier this year, I was invited to attend a moving memorial service where I was given the opportunity to speak with parents who had lost their children in child birth.  How these people cope in these difficult circumstances is beyond comprehension. However, there are dedicated charities and caring, peer support networks out there that can help.  Therefore my charity for the year will be Staffordshire Sands.  Working with the charity, members of the Town Council and the wider community we are aiming to raise thousands of pounds for this worthy and woefully underfunded cause, to make counselling and support easier to access for bereaved parents.  I would like to read a short quote from the charity: “An angel in the book of life wrote down a baby’s birth.  She then whispered as she closed the book “too beautiful for the earth”. 

To finish I want you to know that I firmly believe Kidsgrove is the Jewel in the crown of the Borough. 

That includes Newchapel, Ravenscliffe, Butt Lane, Talke and Talke Pits. 

Let’s make our town more inclusive for the young and old.  Let’s bang the drums and shout out loud we are here and we have so much to offer. 

Thank you