Now it’s time for young to pick up Legion baton

A call for younger people to take up the challenge of war remembrance has been issued by the Lutterworth

Royal British Legion branch.

The call came as the town commemorated the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Alan Richardson, branch secretary of Lutterworth and District Royal British Legion, said: “The Legion is now actively encouraging younger people to take over.

“We have to keep handing the responsibility for remembrance to the next generation – after all the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War isn’t until 2039.”

But Mr Richardson said he was optimistic the next generation would rise to the occasion.

He said: “Personally, I’m finding younger people are genuinely interested in our wartime history. They want to know what happened, they want to remember and they want to get involved.”

His words came during a weekend of First World War commemoration in Lutterworth and the surrounding villages.

In Lutterworth, Sunday saw a church service at St Mary’s which was also relayed outside the building to people listening in Church Street.

There were performances by Lutterworth Town Band, a Lutterworth Museum exhibition in the town’s Wycliffe Rooms, a march and the laying of wreaths at the town’s War Memorial Gardens.

Fifty-two Lutterworth men who died in the First World war are listed on the war memorial – one man for every week of the year.

Of these, just five are buried in St Mary’s churchyard in the town.

Others are buried in military graveyards around the world, from the Somme in France, to Basra Memorial Cemetary in Iraq.

Mr Richardson said he was encouraged by the number of people who were keen to remember the sacrifice of a generation of men 100 years ago.

He said: “On Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people turned up to pay their respects, either in the church or outside.

“There were a whole range of ages who were showing great interest in the church service and the other commemorations.

“The First World War is a vitally important part of our history, which is why people have to keep getting the younger generation interested.”

Monday night also saw an hour-long candlelit vigil at Lutterworth War Memorial, to remember the sacrifice of local people.