CHURCH officials are trying to trace relatives of First World War heroes named on a memorial.

The names of 71 soldiers killed during the four-year conflict feature on the war memorial at the entrance to the graveyard of St James’s Church, Lower Darwen.

And church bosses have also found at least a further 29 graves of soldiers lost during the war, which Britain entered 100 years ago on August 4.

Now, they want to get in contact with as many of the families as possible ahead of a special service later in the year and to help them put together a display at the church.

Parishioner Ruth Bell has been helping to co-ordinate the appeal.

She said: “We are looking at about 100 names and so far I have contacted the families of a couple.

“We would really like to get in touch with more people.

“Some will be living well out of the area now but there must be some people still around.

“We have evidence of people coming to see graves and leaving flowers and we are going to put some cards on the graves.”

Those named on the memorial include brothers William and Colin Sames.

Mrs Bell said: “They were called up within two weeks of each other in 1915. “There were six members of that family who went to war and only one of them came home.

“And that was a prominent Blackburn family. Their dad was George Sames who was a well-known architect surveyor in the town.

“I have met with the family of these lads so have managed to get some information on them.

“They lived at Shadsworth Hall, which has now been demolished.

“I think it is important, especially with such a big anniversary coming up, that the sacrifice of these brave local lads is recognised.”

Family members who wish to get in touch can do so by calling Mrs Bell on 01254 262309 or 07841 377201.