A PROJECT has been launched to honour the 4,213 Burnley people who died in the First World War.

Schoolchildren will lay crosses in memory of each of the borough’s fallen soldiers to coincide with the centenary of the start of the conflict. The scheme also includes ambitious plans to plant one million poppies by 2018.

Representatives of Burnley Pupils’ Parliament met with Towneley Hall curator Mike Townsend last week to kick-off Little Children Week.

The project, backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will see 3,900 crosses planted at Towneley Park, with the remainder spread throughout the borough’s memorial parks.

Council leader, Julie Cooper, said: “This year is the 100th year anniversary of the start of the First World War.

“During that war which lasted for four years, over 4,000 men from Burnley and Padiham were killed in action. It is important that we come together as a town to remember.

“Burnley Council has been working with our military covenant partners to organise a range of activities. These will include the planting of a million poppies, the placing of a named cross for each of those who gave their lives and exhibitions at Towneley Hall.

“Schoolchildren will be encouraged to ‘adopt’ a former soldier to learn more about the First World War and its impact on the soldiers and on the families back home.”

Individual crosses will bear the names of the 4,212 men and one woman from the borough who lost their lives in battle between 1914 and 1918.

Representatives of Burnley Pupils’ Parliament will have the honour of laying the first crosses in a special ceremony.