THE lights went out across East Lancashire as the region paused to remember its fallen heroes.
Hundreds attended candle-lit services at war memorials and parks for the national Lights Out event, which saw darkness fall to mark the centenary of Great Britain declaring war on Germany.
The events were inspired by the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey’s remark: “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
A torch-lit parade took place in the grounds of Towneley Hall to the Burnley war memorial from 9.45pm.
The parade was followed by a service of remembrance including a speech from the Mayor of Burnley, Coun Andrew Tatchell, a service by Churches Together and Building Bridges, and a two-minute silence.
A band played as thousands of well-wishers walked past crosses bearing the names of Burnley’s fallen, which were set down in Towneley Road.
Around 100 people then gathered around the park’s cenotaph for the service, while a large screen behind the hall relayed it to the crowd.
Coun Tatchell said: “It went like clock-work. A few weeks ago, we were trying to anticipate what the numbers were going to be, and it certainly exceeded expectations.
“We thought 400 might turn up, but it was more than 1,000. It was a calm, respectful atmosphere. I gave a keynote speech, and the clergy did theirs, and relatives of some of the soldiers put crosses down.”
Rossendale Borough Council also hosted an event from 10pm at its Futures Park offices in Bacup.
In Whitworth, there was a candle-lit ceremony in the Remembrance Gardens at the same time.
And residents in Hyndburn huddled around the Accrington Pals Memorial, in Church Street, as the Pals’ great sacrifice was honoured with dignity and pride.
Candles sat amidst symbolic poppies as the illustrious Accrington Pipe Band marked the occasion.
Local dignitaries, including Hyndburn and Haslingden MP Graham Jones and former mayoress Judith Addison, and members of the Royal British Legion formed part of the crowd as a goosebump-inducing last post was sounded at 11pm.
Earlier in the afternoon, Mr Jones attended the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to the memorial of local historian Bill Turner.
Mr Turner spent years working to preserve the memory of the Accrington Pals and even wrote a book about the heroes.
He died in 2007, aged 76, after being made an honorary freeman of Hyndburn.
Mr Jones said: “Because of Bill’s research and the tragic story of the Accrington Pals, the Pals have become part of national folklore.
“They are now famous throughout the world and that’s thanks to Bill.”