We were really pleased that so many of you turned up on Bury Light Night 2015 to listen to our article- and poetry-reading in Gallipoli Gardens. Nic, volunteer Penny and I really got into character wearing WW1 nurses uniforms alongside volunteer Jesse Riley, who was smartly dressed in a black suit and sporting a Fusilier tie! The projection of soldiers’ images onto the wall of the Fusilier Museum was a fantastic backdrop and the fact that The Royal Regiment of Fusilier Band played directly after our readings made the whole event truly special.
The readings were carefully chosen from local newspaper content already extracted by volunteers as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project, Bury Remembers the First World War. As we are commemorating 100 years since the Gallipoli Landings we wanted to pay tribute to the many Fusiliers who lost their lives in the campaign. In doing so, we hoped to reveal how and in what format the local community learned of news abroad as well as giving examples of the kind of sentiments expressed in poetry written by the people of Bury and subsequently printed in the local press.
If you had told me this time last year that on Light Night 2015 I would be reading out loud in front of thousands of strangers I would have laughed and run a mile! Needless to say, come 16th October 2015 that was exactly where I found myself – in a World War 1 nurses costume and being illuminated by fairy lights! It’s a funny old job being an Archive assistant!
On reflection, the whole evening and the role played by Bury Libraries and the Centre for Cultural Collections was amazing. Our event was just one of the five ways that the Library service was highlighted and just one of the three ways that Adam Carter’s brilliant ‘Bury Remembers The First World War’ project was showcased.
My input revolved around helping to dress the fantastic new display cases that are on show in the search room of the Centre for Cultural Collections and planning the poetry readings in Gallipoli gardens.
It was a real pleasure to work with two of our volunteers, Penny and Jesse, who helped Wendy and I deliver seventeen readings extracted from local newspapers from the period. The quality and authenticity of the material we chose to deliver complemented the illuminations and created a wonderful atmosphere in Gallipoli Gardens. We received a lot of positive comments from the general public who were also delighted to assist us in our act of remembrance by accepting a packet of forget-me-not seeds to scatter freely.