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Lake District maze commemorates the First World War

A giant poppy measuring 150 meters by 175 meters has been planted in the Lake District to mark the anniversary of the First World War.

The Lakeland Maize Maze, at Sedgwick near Kendal in Cumbria, has made the poppy emblem its design for 2014.

The attraction was the Maize Maze of the Year in both 2011 and 2013 and expects over 18,000 visitors to walk through its poppy design this year when it opens next weekend.

Accrington pays tribute to its fallen heroes

A Lancashire town came to a standstill today as thousands turned out to remember the legendary Accrington Pals.

On the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in World War 1, when the Pals' suffered huge losses, the streets were packed as the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment marched through the town in memory of the Pals.

And in true Lancastrian fashion it wasn't a sombre affair as Paul Crone reports.

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Gallery: Accrington honours its heroes of the Armed Forces

Service as Accrington honours soldiers past and present. Credit: Paul Crone/ITV News
Crowds gather ahead of the parade. Credit: Paul Crone/ITV News
Hundreds have gathered for today's events. Credit: Paul Crone/ITV News
1 Lancs parade through Accrington. Credit: Paul Crone/ITV News
Duke of Lancaster's marching band. Credit: Paul Crone/ITV News

Soldiers parade in honour of Accrington Pals

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster's Regiment will march through Accrington today.

The regiment, known as the lions of England, will pay tribute to the Pals - who suffered significant losses on this day in 1916, at the start of the Battle of the Somme.

It's also eight years today that the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment was formed.

The history of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment importantly includes the Accrington Pals so it is fitting that they have chosen this the centenary year of the outbreak of the first World War to exercise the Freedom of the Borough.

"The Regiment already has the Freedom of the Borough of Hyndburn and we want to demonstrate our pride and thanks to our soldiers who risk their lives both at home and abroad to serve our country.

"The parade will give the people of Hyndburn the opportunity to show their appreciation on behalf of the Borough for their gallant and courageous service."

– Leader of the Council, Cllr Miles Parkinson

It is a tremendous honour for the Regiment and its soldiers to exercise the Freedom of Hyndburn, and it is fitting that we will do so in the home town of the Accrington Pals on the anniversary of their great sacrifice.

"Parades such as this give us an opportunity to publicly express our gratitude to the communities our soldiers come from."

– Colonel Chris Owen, of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment

The annual Accrington Pals Memorial service at the Pals Memorial on Church St Accrington will also take place on July 1 at 11.30am.

The time of the march and the parade route are available on the Council's website.

Moving wartime scenes bound for North West stations

Emotional wartime scenes will be brought to life at 21 rail stations in the North West this September.

Over By Christmas will feature more than 300 people of all ages accompanied by musicians. It's a choral work to mark the departure of Cheshire soldiers for the Western Front.

It captures the optimism of soldiers leaving their loved ones, perhaps never to see them again.

A community choir of ‘soldiers’, ‘nurses’ and their families will recreate these poignant stories and children from more than 20 schools will be involved.

Over by Christmas is created by Theatre in the Quarter’s Writer-in-Residence Helen Newall, and the company’s founder and Artistic Director, Matt Baker.

The free event is part of the Imperial War Museum’s First World War Centenary Project.

Sally Buttifant, Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership Officer said: "This is about remembering the sacrifice local people made and the journey that began at their local station. It’s reminds us of the importance of the stations, as communities played their part in this world-changing event."

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Middleton honours VC hero Joel Halliwell

Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell V.C, Middleton’s only Victoria Cross recipient. Credit: Rochdale Borough Council
Crowds gather as tributes are made. Credit: ITV News/Mel Barham

Among the crowds paying tribute to Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell were Lyn and Ian Rigby, the parents of Fusilier Lee Rigby, who was murdered in Woolwich last year.

Lyn Rigby, the mother of Fusilier Lee Rigby, joined those paying tribute to L.Cpl Halliwell Credit: ITV News
Tributes to VC winner L.Cpl Joel Halliwell. Credit: ITV News
L.Cpl Joel Halliwell VC Way is revealed. Credit: ITV News
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