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Bury Unitarian Church



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Book of Remembrance

 On Remembrance Sunday, November 8th, our Minister, Rev. Beryl Allerton, presented her Book of Remembrance to the congregation; this was received by Anne Mills, Chairman of the Congregation, and Susan Holt, Chairman of Trustees, and Anne gave a short speech of thanks.

The current Bury Unitarian Church brought together Unitarian congregations from 3 churches, those from Bank Street Bury, Chesham, and Heywood, and names of the fallen from these three are inscribed on our War Memorial. Beryl undertook to research into all the names there and to find as much information as she could about each one. Her book contains nearly 80 names, and a short piece about most of them; sadly, a few yielded nothing at all, despite Beryl's efforts and help from staff at The Fusliers' Museum.

It has taken almost 2 years for the research to be completed, and it has proved to be hard work indeed; progress on certain sections was very slow, especially where World War II personnel were concerned; there was a severe shortage of paper, and far less printing than normal could be carried out; even towards the end of World War I, obituaries were shortened, or omitted altogether, as it was felt to be bad for morale to print all the details that existed. Beryl found some of the details very emotional to confront, stories of soldiers, and what had happened to them, inspired painful, even harrowing feelings, and she found her work exhausting, despite the interest it also provoked


One such piece concerned Private Alfred William Smith, whose grand-daughter, Vera Stephenson, still attends the church today. Private Smith served with the Lancashire Fusiliers and was killed in action, in France, on September 6th, 1917, aged 22; this was his third draft. His parents, who lived at 27 Duckworth Street, Chesham, Bury, were so shocked by the news of his death that they queried the accuracy of the information with The War Office; sadly, their reply stated that there were "no doubts" about it. When the red poppies were distributed, quite randomly, around the church, last year and this, by a strange coincidence, the poppy with Private Smith's name and details on it ended up at Vera's usual place! Two generations further on, another Bury girl and Vera's grand-daughter, Rachel Hayes, began her arduous training in the Royal Navy, in January, 2014; she has now nearly completed two years' service. She represented The Royal Navy at The Festival of Remembrance, at The Royal Albert Hall, on November 7th, and again at the service held by The Cenotaph, in Whitehall, on Remembrance Sunday; she looked very smart, in full uniform, and said that she had been impressed by both ceremonies, as well as having been proud to be chosen. Many of us spotted her during the television coverage of the events, but no-one was prouder of her than her grand-mother!



Our Book of Remembrance, bound in a red cover, with gold lettering, is Beryl's personal gift to the congregation; it will be treasured as a unique record and kept in the worship-area so that everyone may examine it; The Fusiliers' Museum have also received a copy. The Book is a tribute to Beryl, whose inspiration it was, and whose efforts have finally brought it to fruition and completion.


Click here to read the contents of the book





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Bury Unitarian Church
1 Bank Street

0161 761 3785



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Charity Registration No. 1078570
Bury Unitarian Church 2016