Musical memorial for village veterans

The Great War: New Songs and Stories
The Great War: New Songs and Stories
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A Lancashire village built in 1919 for disabled First World War veterans and their families is one of the venues for a series of concerts marking the centenary of the conflict.

The Great War: New Songs and Stories in the Landscape is made up of original songs and re-workings of traditional ones, as well as recordings of people who survived the slaughter.

It is going to be fantastic to play to the veterans of Westfield (the village is now occupied by veterans of the Second World War, Korea, The Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan)

Westfield War Memorial Village in Lancaster will welcome the show next Saturday, August 22.

Other shows will be held in a Zeppelin bomb crater on a remote Lancashire hillside and inside a prison which held scores of conscientious objectors.

Acclaimed Lancashire-based folk trio Harp and a Monkey, above, has teamed up with Arts Council England and the Western Front Association for this major musical project.

The threesome will visit Westfield next Saturday, August 22.

Another concert is planned in a bomb crater on Holcombe Moor near Ramsbottom, the result of a terrifying Zeppelin attack on the area in September 1916.

The band will also perform inside Liverpool’s Walton jail in a special concert for prisoners and staff who are ex-servicemen.

The prison housed conscientious objectors and is now home to many former servicemen who have struggled to cope with life after conflict.

The band’s frontman Martin Purdy is a Great War historian and author who has worked for the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? Programme.

Martin said: “ It is going to be fantastic to play to the veterans of Westfield (the village is now occupied by veterans of the Second World War, Korea, The Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan).

“It has an atmosphere and back story that is very much its own, and it is a place that I know the wider community is rightly proud of.

“This show reminds us of the cost of war, and the often forgotten role that charity and philanthropy has always played in supporting the casualties of conflict.”

He added: “The aim of the concerts is to challenge many of the stereotypes of the Great War and we will be focusing heavily on the forgotten heroes and the extraordinary achievements of ordinary people.

Harp and a Monkey plan to expand the project in 2016 and already have a number of unusual sites with Great War links earmarked for future shows around the UK. They will also be making a documentary of the project for broadcast later in the year.

The other members of the trio, which is making a big name for itself on the festival circuit, are Andy Smith, from Blackley in north Manchester and Simon Jones from Burnage, who is also an award winning photographer.