ROSSENDALE soldiers who sacrificed their lives in combat are to be honoured with a new war memorial.

Researchers have uncovered the names of more than 500 Ramsbottom natives who have died in conflict since the beginning of the First World War.

Officials at St Paul’s Church in Bridge Street have now submitted a formal application to Bury Council to erect a memorial wall listing all those who died in battle.

Members of the independent Ramsbottom War Memorial Project Team hope the wall will provide a focal point for future Remembrance Day services in the town.

If planning permission is secured, the group will apply for a £25,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to complete the task.

Other fundraising is already under way, including a scheme where relatives of the dead can contribute towards the wall in return for a scroll of recognition.

Project manager and secretary Martin Wiggam said the wall would be the only comprehensive list of war dead from the old Ramsbottom Urban District, including Edenfield, Shuttleworth, Stubbins and Summerseat.

He said: “The memorial wall will complement the existing memorial and will be constructed of locally quarried pitched stone blocks, with the panels being the same construction but smoother to take the lettering.

“These materials will complement the existing memorial, the surrounding wall and the church.

“It will also enhance the memorial gardens, helping to bring home a sense of belonging as people read the names of their family members.

“It is hoped that the memorial will help younger people understand and appreciate the massive sacrifice that has been made by the people of their town.

“Bury Council has kindly agreed to keep it in the same good order as they do for the existing memorial which includes the removal of any graffiti and cleaning the stonework.”

Mr Wiggam said his five-strong team of researchers had exhausted the archives of the now-defunct Ramsbottom Observer newspaper, The Fusilier Museum in Bury and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but were still uncovering new names.

The wall, which organisers want to be in place before the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War in July 2014, will be sited near the grade two-listed church’s existing memorial gardens.