MORE than 4,000 tiny wooden crosses are set to be laid across parkland in Burnley and Padiham as part of the borough’s First World War commemorations.

The Great War claimed the lives of 4,213 locals and each of the small memorials, to be installed in Towneley Park and Padiham Memorial Park, will bear a different name.

The work will funded by a £33,200 grant, secured by the borough council from the Heritage Lottery Fund to mark the centenary of the conflict beginning.

Under the banner of Little Children Weak, council staff will be going into schools and working with community groups to ensure their supreme sacrifice is not forgotten. The grounds of Towneley will feature a floral display based around the East Lancashire Regiment’s cap badge and a 1921 banner will be restored.

And the hall itself will host two exhibitions, the first telling 100 wartime stories and a November event focused on local war memorials. The 100 stories theme will also be taken up as a book and DVD and include wartime memories of local people.

A new roll of honour is being drafted, Burnley Youth Theatre will stage a series of short plays and a procession will be undertaken through Towneley Park on August 4, to mark the outbreak of the fighting.

Mike Townend, project manager, said: “The project will bring together all of the community, and we hope that as many people as possible will come forward and volunteer to help in whatever way they can, be it helping with planting, helping to lay crosses or being involved in the procession in August.”

He is also hoping to share quirky war-time tales and will be hosting descendants’ days.

n ‘The Little Children Weak’ motif for the project comes from lines composed by Gunner Bertie Purvey, while recuperating from war wounds at Padiham’s Huntroyde military hospital: ‘We were but little children weak, but now we are mighty strong’.