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MP's pride at Pages Of The Sea event

Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson says Formby will be 'front and centre' of the World War One commemorations when the town hosts Danny Boyle's Pages Of The Sea commemoration.

The event on the National Trust beach on Sunday November 11 could attract thousands of people who will pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the Great War.

Formby will be one of 32 beaches around the country hosting a Pages of the Sea event, where images of some of the soldiers who left for the War by sea will be created in the sand, before they are washed away by the tide.

The MP spoke at the Armistice debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday (November 6), saying: "On Sunday, on the beach at Formby, the National Trust will hold its Pages of the Sea commemoration to recognise the many people who left for war by sea. The event will centre around the drawing of large-scale portraits of casualties, which will be washed away by the sea, representing and reminding us of the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the war."

During the debate the MP also praised Sefton's unique World War One memorial project exploring the history of some of the thousands of men and women from the borough who lost their lives during the conflict.

The Sefton libraries project, Beyond the War Memorials: The Stories Behind the Names on Sefton's Civic War Memorials, which was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has led to 2,000 households in Sefton being sent Last Post packs, detailing the name and wartime heroics of the former occupant of their address.

In his speech in Parliament, Mr Esterson spoke to highlight the impressive work done by Sefton Libraries, volunteers and schoolchildren.

He said: "The journalist Peter Harvey has explained the project on Twitter. It includes the sending of letters to the last known addresses of some of those named on the memorials. It also includes a short film in which the current occupant of one property in Crosby, 70-year-old Terri Whitaker, reads her letter to the three Grossart brothers who were killed in the war, aged 19, 20 and 21. They had lived in her house before they went off to war. It is a fitting tribute from her to those from Sefton who were killed."

He also praised the work of schoolchildren on the project. Children from across the borough worked closely with Sefton artist Angie Thompson to create images for the Last Post packs, and 15 local volunteers have worked alongside professional researcher Kathryn Rogerson to uncover the stories.

Mr Esterson told the House of Commons: "In my constituency, young people have absolutely engaged. The schools have been engaged and have taken part thoroughly, encouraged and educated by Sefton Libraries and many volunteers throughout the constituency. They are taking forward that knowledge and understanding of history for future generations."

Sefton’s 11 Civic War Memorials list the 4,000 names of heroes and heroines from the borough who lost their lives.

Mr Esterson added: "Tribute must be paid to all those who lost their lives in the Great War and also to those involved in this project which serves as a permanent reminder of their sacrifice. It is projects such as these that will ensure they truly are never forgotten."

More about the project can be seen at

On Sunday, the MP will be attending the memorial service at 3pm at Holy Trinity church in Formby.

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