FIRST World War soldiers from Darwen will be commemorated at an ambitious mock trench in the town’s cemetery.

The Friends of Darwen Cemetery have unveiled the project as the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War approaches.

Still in the design stages, the group will commission a large granite ‘trench’, complete with firing step, which can be used as a bench for quiet contemplation while overlooking the town.

The Friends hope the project will be completed by next year, and have launched a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to pay for the £150,000 scheme.

The sides of the trench could be used for granite plaques to commemorate individual soldiers, and the Friends group bosses said the project would be flexible going forward.

Schools will also be encouraged to use the trench as an outdoor learning space.

Friends chairman John East said: “The First World War commemorations will go on for four years, and this is just one of a few projects we have in mind.

“We wanted to have things to keep us going, so we didn’t run out of steam.”

Col Steve Davies, president of the Friends, said: “School pupils and children are very much at the heart of everything we seek to do, with their thoughts and research very much guiding us at every stage of the journey.

“We have a number of organisations providing their services for free, and Blackburn with Darwen Council has been especially supportive.”

Whitehall councillor David Foster said: “All power to the Friends of Darwen Cemetery for a fantastic initiative.

“They have done a really magnificent job, and it is a real innovation.

“It is a great commemoration that will be here for future generations to enjoy.”