How we use Cookies

Racists hijack Poppy Day

A GROUP of far-right extremists provoked outrage after they held their own Remembrance Day service at Accrington's war memorial in Oak Hill Park.

A GROUP of far-right extremists provoked outrage after they held their own Remembrance Day service at Accrington's war memorial in Oak Hill Park.

The White Nationalist Party laid a wreath with a card reading: "In memory of all the white service men and women who gave their lives in defence of foreign invasion.''

Over 20 nationalists, including some from the BNP and the National Front, were said to have attended Sunday's service, led by ex-servicemen John O'Brien and Peter Barker. They marched up Manchester Road carrying a Union Jack, the St George's Flag and Ulster Vanguard, Rhodesian and Celtic Cross flags, and read poems and sang hymns before laying the wreath.

Hyndburn MP Greg Pope was horrified to learn the racists had placed their wreath next to his own, which he had laid at the official service earlier in the day.

He said: "I am absolutely appalled. They obviously planned it as a publicity stunt and I think it's disgraceful they tried to hijack Remembrance Sunday like this. The fact they held a procession at all is sickening. Their wreath was dedicated to white servicemen. What about the hundreds of thousands of Asians who gave their lives? It's even more shocking when you think that, by nature of their beliefs, these people would clearly have supported Hitler in the Second World War."

The vice-chairman of the Accrington, Church and Oswaldtwistle branch of the Royal British Legion, Roy Lockwood, said: "It's a bit thick when you consider that nearly half a million people from the Indian sub-continent also sacrificed their lives. The Gurkhas have fought for Britain for many years.

"I think we are a bit above this in the British Legion. We are not a political organisation and we are not racist. We can't condone these racist comments. They are entitled to their opinion. That's what free speech is about and that is what we fought for but this is very unsettling.''

The Lancashire organiser for the WNP, John O'Brien, said: "It was the first remembrance service we have held. It was the official service for the WNP in the North but members did have their own services as well. We will be holding a service again next year."

The WNP, which was formed in May last year, is going through the political registration process and the party is planning to stand in local elections next year, although it has not yet confirmed where.

Regarding itself as to the right of the BNP, its beliefs include compulsory repatriation of coloured immigrants, the reintroduction of the death penalty and the outlawing of homosexuality and abortion.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist