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Council hits back over claim that Rishton 'left off' Accrington Pals memorial map

The map - branded 'disrespectful' - is on one of the new benches in Accrington Town Square

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The Pals map, which has been criticsed for not including the town of Rishton. Inset: Rishton ward Coun Michael Miller

council chiefs have hit back over claims that the omission of one of the borough’s townships from a memorial map commemorating the sacrifice of our First World War troops is ‘disrespectful’.

The map, showing home towns of the men who enlisted in the Accrington Pals, features on one of the newly-installed benches in the refurbished Accrington town square - but does not feature Rishton.

The omission has been blasted as ‘disrespectful’ by local Conservative councillor and former RAF serviceman Michael Miller.

But council bosses say that the decision on which towns were included was down to the visual design and that it was never intended that all the home towns of the Pals would be included.

According to the Rishton Royal British Legion, the town had the highest per capita number of men volunteer for the Accrington Pals - officially known as the 11th East Lancashire Regiment.

But Coun Miller said: “There are a lot of people who made a lot of sacrifices - especially during the war and this is quite disrespectful to those that did.

“It’s not just those people who made the ultimate sacrifice, their families made sacrifices too. I’m sure they’d be very disappointed as it’s an important tribute to those who died for our country.”

The map features on one of the six new granite boards installed next to new benches in the town square as part of the £2 million public realm initiative.

Coun Miller said: “I don’t think it’s right.

“It makes me question who’s verified and checked this.

“I’d like [Hyndburn council] to make reparations - either address the problem or replace the bench.”

He added: “Part of the £2 million project has been funded by residents of Rishton and it’s important they are recognised for their contribution.”

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However, Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said: “The illustration portrays all of the Pals battalions and therefore there was never any intention to include every single Hyndburn township.

“The artwork was designed with help from a fantastic local working group of volunteers and Pals historians which outlines a brief overview of the raising of the Lancashire Pals battalions, with the generic map indicating the catchment area.”