The Friends of St John’s Churchyard have received a National Lottery grant of £8300 to research Nelson’s First World War Heritage as recorded in St John’s Churchyard. Awarded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War then and now programme, the project will focus on generating a database of the casualties, researching and documenting their lives within the local community and creating a permanent memorial to these local men in the form of a Garden enhanced by information boards.
To mark the Centenary of the First World War, the project will enable people in Nelson and surrounding areas to come together to preserve the stories and heritage of the local people who lived and died during the First World War. Volunteers will acquire new skills through completing guided research; media requests will enable the public to share family items such as photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like.
The information will be accessible to all through this newly created website. Events and exhibitions will publicise and share our findings and at the same time commemorate the lives of ordinary men from our community who died as a result of the First World War.
There are over 100 local men buried or commemorated in the churchyard at St John’s; until now there has been no permanent memorial recognising all of them. In this Centenary year it is fitting that we acknowledge and remember their huge sacrifice and discover and share as much as we can about their lives and also those of their families left behind.