A pub in Eccles held a free event yesterday to remember the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in battle during many conflicts over the past century.
The Bridgewater (Patricroft) put on a three-hour display of music and sing-along songs from war marches and decades gone by – including a live solo performance from the Landlords’ granddaughter.
Locals were encouraged to come down and celebrate the lives of those who fought for the country and enjoy each other’s company with drinks and plenty of singing.
Anthony Hudson (who goes by Tony) has been at the helm of the pub for the past 3 years, Diane Newell has been helping out with organising the events the pub holds – like the one today. They were delighted at the reception of the day’s event:
“From my point of view, as a landlord of a pub after two years of lockdown, I think we need to bring the community back together and what a better way and a better time than Armistice Day to say a big, thank you to all our customers who have supported us, and today is a special one.” Tony said.
Diane added: “I think Britain should carry on this tradition. I think we’re coming to an end of our veterans to be fair and so I think this needs passing on down generation, generation, generation.
“It’s poignant, you know, it should be kept that way.”
Tony was keen to thank the veterans who attended the event and also explained his personal connection to the army as he said:
“These veterans that come in this pub, some of them came in my old pub and they followed me over the years, wherever i’ve been.
“I had five brothers, four now, one passed away sadly. A couple years ago, everyone was in the army. Every single one. I am the only person who has not been in the army, and they all said I should have been because I looked like an army man.”
Mike Barton was the DJ and MC for the event, he explained how he felt about seeing the crowds who turned up:
“Amazing, after the lockdown from last year, they weren’t allowed to go to the Cenotaph to this year where they’ve come out in pride.
“What a massive crowd was brought down there. And then to bring them here, back to enjoy a great afternoon you know, amazing.
This was also a personal day for Mr Barton, as he had relatives who were involved in combat:
“And my granddad summed it up years ago, long time ago actually. And he said, do you know what? He said, ‘you’ll be still singing the songs you can here in the background now when you’re older and you’re my age’ and you know what? That’s what I’m playing today, I’m playing them tunes.
“One of my granddad’s died in the war.
“My other grandad, He was in the RAF, he came home.
“Like I said, without them people, we will perhaps not be talking today because they have sacrificed their life for our tomorrow.”
There were some who attended the event that had personal experience of combat in the past due to their service in the army.
Mark Woollams joined the service at 16 years-old and served for 15 years as a Royal Engineer. He detailed what this day meant for him:
“Armistice Day for me is not glorifying – it’s remembering. Those that couldn’t be here today, we’re here to remember. Nobody glorifies war. We’re here to remember people that sacrificed so we can be here. It’s big thing because it’s so easy nowadays to forget things, but never forget those that aren’t here, because they sacrificed everything so we could be here.
“It’s a big thing. It’s not politics. I’d it’s more morals. We have a moral standing to respect our elders who aren’t here because they died. So, we should never forget what they did for us.”
He also spoke about the difference of being able to experience this event in person:
“I mean, the past two years have been difficult for the world, but having missed it last year in person, and having it in person this year for the first time and seeing the crowd that were there today, it’s a stark reminder that the world does not forget.
“We may not be able to remember together as collective but today we could, and it’s made a massive difference. People realise what happened historically hopefully will never happen again.”
Sir Roy Shelby also served for 22 years, when speaking about his service he said:
“It wasn’t difficult because we was trained to be what we were, we was trained to do that.
“This is my day because I remember the lads, it’s very important to me because a lot of people don’t appreciate it.
“People don’t appreciate the past and that they can walk around and do and say what they want.”
“Absolutely brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. There’s people talking to people.”
On the Armistice event he also added:
“I understand that people who suffer with all sorts of stress can come to something like this and it goes”
“I don’t suffer with stress because I’ve faced life, but a lot of people can’t face life, but I have. But I’ve come in here today, I’ve loved it.”
Community hubs and pubs have been crucial for locals looking to get some relaxation, Tony and Diane spoke about how important this aspect to life has been since restrictions have been lifted:
“The plan today was, obviously, Armistice, bring the community together, somewhere for them to come afterwards from the Cenotaph so they can sit and reminisce.
“We want the pub to run as a community pub, so bringing people in. We’re not a bar, we’re not Americanised it’s an old, traditional pub and there’s still, believe it or not, old traditional people out there like ourselves!
“We plan to recreate now for every single event whether it’s Easter whether it’s Christmas.” Diane explained.
Tony added: “There’s plenty of people that are in here today that would not normally be in here, they have come from other pubs because there’s nothing being done in those pubs. They’ve turned up here, people are ringing other people and saying: ‘get down to the Bridgewater, they’re putting on a celebration for armistice day which is fantastic’ so now my pub is full of people enjoying themselves and enjoying the day and paying their respects to those who’ve passed, and I think that’s absolutely wonderful, I really do.”
Remembrance Day marks the day World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. 103 years on from that day, the memory of those lost from that war, and ones proceeding after it, still live strong.