Local veterans, Mr. Billy Allot and Mr. Vince Pridden, received the well wishes of Mayor of Burnley Charlie Briggs today as they prepare to travel to Europe for the “Great Pilgrimage 90.”
The Royal British Legion event, known as Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), takes place between the 5th and 9th of August and will be one of the largest in the charity’s history.
GP90 will mark 90 years since the original Royal British Legion pilgrimage in 1928, which saw 11,000 Great War veterans and war widows visit the battlefields of the Somme and Ypres in Belgium, a decade after the conflict ended. That pilgrimage culminated in a march through Ypres to the Menin Gate Memorial, where a ceremony took place to commemorate the ‘100 Days Offensive’ that led to the end of the Great War and to remember those that never returned home.
Local legion members, Vince and Billy, will represent the Burnley & Padiham branch and the wider local community at the event, as standard bearer and wreath layer respectively. They will tour some of the same battlefields and cemeteries visited by those on the 1928 pilgrimage, before marching along the original route through Ypres to the Menin Gate on the 8th August, bearing the branch standard and wreath.
They will join more than 2,200 other legion representatives and dignitaries. Once at the Menin Gate, Billy will lay a wreath on behalf of the Burnley and Padiham community.
Billy, who is Vice-Chairman of the Burnley & Padiham branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “Great Pilgrimage 90 is a unique opportunity for the Legion community to come together and bear our Standards along the same route in Ypres taken 90 years earlier by the veterans and widows of the First World War. The Burnley & Padiham branch looks forward to proudly representing Burnley at the event.”
The Mayor was joined by Burnley Councillors Lubna Khan and Lian Pate, who raised money to help cover the cost of the pilgrimage by completing a sponsored run. Councillor Pate and Khan said: “We would like to thank everyone who made a contribution in support of the Legion’s pilgrimage fund. We hope Billy and Vincent enjoy a memorable trip, and wish them well as they represent the borough at this historic occasion.”