Sunday, 23 February 2014

First World War - New War Graves Project

While a lot of people are - quite rightly - focusing on the huge military cemeteries that can be found right across the battlefields of Flanders, Northern France and various other foreign fields, we have discovered that there are literally hundreds of war graves in local cemeteries right across the UK and, indeed, throughout the world.

As part of Lucy's Inspirational Women Of World War One project ( link here ), she decided that she'd like to visit the graves of the numerous women who are commemorated in cemeteries that we can get to easily.  While we were at the one in Lytham, we noticed numerous graves of other WW1 personnel - some of which don't get much attention - so we thought we'd like to highlight some of them on a separate webpage.

You can find out more about our war graves project here:

If you look at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, you can find look for your own local cemetery and find details of who is buried there.     

Friday, 14 February 2014

Tune In To Our Radio Show On 103.2 Preston FM - Saturday 15th Feb from 5pm

In our Best Kept Secrets show on 103.2 Preston FM on Saturday, our featured album is the new CD release by Steel Threads called "For Those Who Are Left" so we'll be playing a couple of great tracks from that.

In "Party Like It's 1959" we feature broadcasting legend Jimmy Young - way back when he was a chart topping pop star,

Lucy talks about WW1 poet Nadja Malacrida, Inspirational Woman Betty Stevenson and lots more besides...

And we've got great music from Joan Armatrading, We Were Evergreen, Caro Emerald, Daughtry and Boy & Bear.

So join us from 4pm this Saturday on 103.2 Preston FM.  If you are outside the normal broadcasting area, you can listen live over the internet at

Note: to find out more about Steel Threads, click here:

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Review: Hofesh Sheckter's "Sun" at Blackpool Grand Theatre

If you like modern dance productions, you'll definitely like this new work by Hofesh Shechter.

Even to an untrained spectator, this show was packed  with thought-provoking themes, captivating imagery, excellent choreography and a few surprises as well.  Cut-out sheep, a laughing man with a tambourine and lots of wonderful dance moves.  

A great musical soundtrack with captivating drum rhythms, occasional discord and even a bit of bagpipes thrown in - although it did get a bit too loud at times....

For more information about the Hofesh Shechter company, visit the website at

Monday, 10 February 2014

English Touring Theatre's "Eternal Love" Coming to Blackpool Grand Theatre - 11th to 15th March 2014

English Touring Theatre, which is celebrating its 21st birthday throughout 2014, is delighted to announce the full casting for its upcoming revival of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Howard Brenton’s Eternal Love, formerly titled In Extremis.

David Sturzaker and Jo Herbert will be playing the lead roles of legendary lovers Abelard and Heloise.

The full cast is Sam Crane (Bernard of Clairvaux), Edward Peel (Fulbert),Rhiannon Oliver(Denise), Tim Frances (William of Champeaux), Julius D’Silva(Louis VI), John Cummins(Alberic), William Mannering(Lotholf), Sally Edwards(Helene) with Claire Bond, Robert Heard, Daisy Hughes, Tom Kanji, Kevin Leslie, Holly Morgan and Sid Sagar completing the cast.

The production, written by esteemed English playwright Howard Brenton (Spooks, Anne Boylen) will be directed by John Dove, designed by Michael Taylor and composed by William Lyons – all of whom are reuniting after their work on Anne Boleynin 2012. Lighting will be designed by Paul Russell with sound design by Derrick Zieba.

Eternal Love tells the story of an ill-fated affair between philosophy teacher Abelard and his student Heloise, and the controversial and radical views which led them to question key figures and beliefs of the day.

This production of Eternal Love marks the inaugural tour of the National Touring Group (NTG), a consortium of 8 major venues across the UK which aims to bring high quality and ambitious theatre to areas of the country that fundamentally rely on touring for their arts provision.

First performed in 2006 and 2007 to great acclaim at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the NTG’s Spring 2014 tour of Eternal Love will see the original creative team re-unite to bring this much lauded love story of Abelard and Heloise nationwide. Eight actors in the production, including the two leads, previously performed together in the highly successful 2012 UK tour of English Touring Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe’s co-production of Anne Boleyn (which played at the Grand Theatre in 2012), which was named Best Touring Production at Theatre Awards UK in 2012 and inspired the formation of the NTG.

Eternal Love at Grand Theatre Blackpool, Tuesday 11 to Saturday 15 March 2014

Adults £20.00, Full time students and children £11.00, Groups 20+ £9.50, 50+ £8.50

In line with legislation the   £1.50 booking fee is now INCLUDED in all stated ticket prices. The Grand Theatre has an ‘open’ policy regarding the fees that is charges and what they are for.

Call Box Office on 01253 74 33 39 or visit

Remembrance Poets Project launch event DJ School, Stoke on Trent - 27th February 2014

Interested members of the public, historians and fellow poets are invited to this event to launch the Remembrance Poet Project featuring:

Guest Speaker: Jonathan Dale from the Western Front Association.
There will be a Celebration buffet and performances from local young poets ..

Hofesh Schechter Presents "Sun" at Blackpool Grand Theatre - 13th February 2014

Internationally acclaimed choreographer Hofesh Shechter presents his brand new and highly- anticipated show Sun at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre on Thursday 13 February.

Sun is a visually stunning and entertaining piece of dance theatre, brought to life by an incredibly skilled company of 16 world class dancers. Shechtercreated Sun’s fabulous theatrical world with set designer Merle Hensel, lighting designer Lee Curran and costume designer Christina Cunningham.

The powerfully-atmospheric sound track is composed by Shechter himself with additional music from Wagner, Irving Berlin and Sigur Ros.

Winner of the Critic’s Circle National Dance Award for Best Choreography (modern) in 2008, Shechter is one of the UK’s most exciting artists. Recognized as both a choreographer and composer, Shechter currently has created work for top internationally renowned companies including Nederlands Dans Theater 1and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.

Hofesh Shechter is Resident Company at Brighton Dome and Sun will be the third work commissioned by Brighton Dome following The Art of Not Looking Backand Political Mother. Shechter is also an associate artist at Sadler’s Wells.

Tickets £11.50, Concessions, Children (Under 18) and Friends of The Grand £8.50, Groups 10+ £7.00

In line with legislation the £1.50 booking fee is now INCLUDED in all stated ticket prices. The Grand Theatre has an ‘open’ policy regarding the fees that is charges and what they are for.

Age Suitability 14+

To book tickets, call the Box Office on 01253 74 33 39 or visit

Sing Along A Grease Coming To Blackpool Grand Theatre - 15th February 2014

This spring Blackpool’s Grand Theatre will play host to the unique and interactive show, Sing-a-Long-a Grease. On Saturday15 February, audiences will be able to participate like never before with their favourite on-screen cast of T-Birds and Pink Ladies.

As part of its tour to 80 venues in the UK, Sing-a-Long-a Grease blends the original 1978 movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton Johnwith an exciting and exhilarating theatrical experience, returning the story of the two high school lovers to its origins as a stage show.

With on-screen lyrics, audiences can sing along to the film’s classic soundtrack popularised by Danny, Sandy and the gang, including Greased Lightning, Summer Nights and You’re The One That I Want, as though from the comfort of their own sofa.

Each show has a Sing-a-Long-a host who will hand out goodie bags, guide everyone through vocal warm-ups and essential dance moves such as the hand-jive, as well as teach audiences when to heckle!

And because Sing-a-Long-a Grease offers an exclusive interactive experience for lovers of the movie musical, there’s also chance to enter the fancy dress competition – which means leather jackets, pink wigs and sunglasses are a must.

Full Price Tickets £16.50, Concessions & Children (Under 18s) £14.50, Groups 1 free ticket with every 10 purchased.

In line with legislation the £1.50 booking fee is now INCLUDED in all stated ticket prices. The Grand Theatre has an ‘open’ policy regarding the fees that it charges and what they are for.

To book your tickets call the Box Office on 01253 743339 or visit   
For more tour dates look here:

Sunday, 9 February 2014

"Bullets and Daffodils" Part II - The Wilfred Owen Story musical drama - performance dates for 2014

For the Liverpool performance at The Lantern Theatre, Blundell Street on 6th and 7th March 2014, actor and musician Davy Edge, who starred in the original cast of Blood Brothers, is set to make his return to the Liverpool stage.
Davy, who went on to feature in Brick Up The Mersey Tunnel, will narrate the World War I musical drama Vilomah at The Lantern Theatre. The production, written by Wirral songwriter Dean Johnson, is the sequel to the Wilfred Owen musical Bullets And Daffodils, which played to packed houses in London's West End in 2012 and last year. This new drama is set after the War and is about the effect that Owen’s death had on his mother Susan, played by talented newcomer Jodie Forshaw.
Davy, who now teaches acting, has a lifetime love of Owen's work and was tempted back to the stage by the power of Wilfred's poetry, which features as songs in the piece.
Writer Dean Johnson says, “Bullets And Daffodils featured some very high profile names such as Dean Sullivan and John GormanWilly Russell saw Davy's potential very early on in his career, and cast him in many great roles. It is amazing that Davy has agreed to narrate my new production.”
The voices of Christopher Timothy and Oliver Reed's son Mark also feature, and the script contains contributions from Dr Who writer David Quantick.
6th & 7th March 2014, The Lantern Theatre, 57 Blundell Street, L1 0AJ

For further information, contact Dean Johnson – 07539 371925

The Wilfred Owen Story
34 Argyle Street
CH41 6AE

Bullets and Daffodils 2014 Dates:

The Lantern Theatre, Liverpool:   6th - 7th March

The Wimbledon Theatre:   9th - 10th June

Civic Arts Centre, Oswaldtwistle, East Lancashire:  14th June 

Craiglockhart Collage Theatre,  Edinburgh:   1st - 2nd August

The Floral Pavilion new Brighton: 15th - 16th August

Blackfriars Theatre, Boston, Lincolnshire:  Friday 3rd October 

The Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe:  6th November

Local Football Round Up - 8th February 2014

Very few games survived the bad weather but two that did were right next door to each other!

Wren Rovers reserves lost out on penalties to Hurst Green reserves after a 2-2 draw in the second round of the Houston Cup (in photo).  The first team's game away at Crooklands Casuals was postponed.

In the North West Counties League Premier Division, Squires Gate beat West Didsbury and Chorlton 1-0 to lift themselves up tin to 17th place in the league table.

AFC Blackpool's game away at Norton United was postponed.

Next Saturday, 15th February, AFC Blackpool are at home to Alsager Town in a 3pm kick while Squires gate are away at Bacup & Rosse
ndale United.

Blackpool Wren Rovers are at home to Fulwood Amateurs in the first round of the Richardson Cup - 3pm kick off.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Liverpool Pals Memorial Fund presents: Live at The Devonshire Hotel, Friday, 28th March 2014

The Liverpool Pals are raising funds for a special WW1 Memorial in the form of a 30 foot bronze plaque at Liverpool's Lime Street Station.

There is to be a fund-raising evening on Friday, 28th March 2014 at The Devonshire Hotel with plenty of entertainment and a hot meal for £15.

For tickets and information please contact:
0151 - 220 - 1363.

Friday, 7 February 2014

"A Service Rendered" Anthology of World War One Poems: Review

The First World War was the first ‘total’ war, involving men, women and children and affecting every country of the globe. It is probably for that reason that World War One, which was also known as The Great War or The War to end all Wars, has been written about more than any other conflict. As I began to research women who wrote poetry during WW1, I thought it was highly probable that there were still unpublished poems hidden away in attics, drawers and suitcases waiting to be heard. This book proves me right.

William Murray Kilburn, born in Alva, Clackmannanshire, Scotland in 1887, lost his sight after he fell into a canal containing toxic waste. William’s niece, Mae Murray McClymont, has collected together a remarkable tribute to her uncle in an anthology of the poems he wrote during the First World War. According to family members, William used to walk to the local railway station and chat to wounded soldiers returning from the War. The conversations he had inspired him to write poems, which Mae suggests, were his way of contributing to the war effort. William died in 1942 at the age of fifty-four.

In the anthology of William’s poems called “A Service Rendered”, Mae McClymont has gathered together sixty-eight of the WW1 poems written by her uncle, covering pretty much every aspect of the War from the sea and the early days, through to the Balkans, Egypt, Galipoli and Cambrai. There are poems dedicated to individuals as well as to regiments such as the Royal Scots Greys, the 42nd Royal Highlanders, Irish Troopers, the Argylls, the Gordons, troopships, gun horses, mules, the Seaforths and more.

William's poems would be remarkable enough if we did not know that the writer was blind. During the course of my research, I discovered that such poems were often published in pamphlet form and sold to raise funds for the war effort – perhaps this was the case with William’s poems? Mae tells us that William's poems were published in the North-East Lanark Gazette.

Mae, who lives in Scotland, worked in the health service as a radiographer. With a deep and enduring interest in poetry, she was unaware that her uncle William had written poetry until cousins in Canada brought them to her attention. She searched for the poems in the library's microfiche records and found them, though the records were black, smudged and difficult to read. Mae persevered and spent two winters typing up her uncle's poems. The results is “A Service Rendered”, an anthology of WW1 poems written by William Murray Kilburn throughout the 1914 – 1919 years, edited and published by Mae Murray McClymont in 2013. The anthology is available from The price is £6.95 with £2 postage and packing in the UK - £8.95. Profits from the book are aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind.

With interests that range from literature, paintings, music, and more recently, astronomy, Mae has travelled quite a bit, mainly in Europe, Canada and North America.

Mae mentions that her uncle also wrote other poems – we hope she will collect those together too for this is a wonderful collection – for any serious student of the poetry of the First World War "A Service Rendered" is definitely is a must-read.

To hear one of William's poems please click on the link:

Monday, 3 February 2014

Listen Again - Review of "A Service Rendered" - new collection of First World War Poetry

Listen Again - Review of "War Girls" CD Audio Book On 103.2 Preston FM

If you missed our radio show on 103.2 Preston FM on Saturday 1st February, here's another chance to hear our review of - and clips from - the "War Girls" CD audio book which features writing by women from the First World War.

To listen, simply click on the soundfile below:

To find out more - and to order a copy on CD or as a download - look here:

Joan Armatrading Coming to Colne Muni - Saturday 27th September 2014

During her 42 years of touring, Joan Armatrading has never done a solo World Tour.

Now she has decided the time is right to perform her first ever, full scale solo tour. Her performances will include songs that span her entire career so far.

She said: "I will never retire, but this will be the last major tour that I will undertake. For the first time, these concerts will be me solo on stage playing the guitar, piano and singing.

"I want these concerts to be a special lively interactive one-to-one experience. I have absolutely enjoyed the last 42 years of performances but now, with my final major tour, I want to capture a unique memory for both myself and the audience."

As with every tour from this unique performer, you are guaranteed a fantastic mix of magical old favorites, plus more recent compositions to fall in love with. Expect to hear "Love and Affection"," Willow", "Drop the Pilot" and "Me, Myself I".

Three times Grammy nominated, Brit Award nominee and Ivor Novella winner, producer and musician Joan Armatrading MBE is recognised as one of the world’s leading singer, songwriter and guitarists.

This visit to Colne is one in a group of intimate concerts which are to be followed by appearances on a major city tour both in the UK and around the world in 2015.

More info and Colne show tickets:

More tour dates: