Hundreds of people gathered at the Pals Church in Accrington for a special television broadcast.

St John’s the Evangelist Church played host to a BBC North West Tonight Christmas special last night featuring a look at the history of the Pals and speaking to local historians, military personnel and relatives.

Music was also provided by the East Lancashire Concert Band.

Gilbert Parkinson, whose grandfather William Parkinson fought with the Pals and died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, said: “That was raw courage to do something like that and my grandfather was one of them.

“He was such a poignant figure in my estimation and he is my hero.

“They were someone to look up to and they did things that normal people didn’t do.”

Pals historian Les Bond said the Pals were ‘treated like heroes’ wherever they went.

He said: “People would shout ‘the Pals are coming, the Pals are coming’ and they would all rush to the place where they were, watching along the side of the road and they would cheer them like heroes.”

Captain Shelley Whitehead, of Lancashire Army Cadet Force, said it was ‘really important’ to remember the sacrifice they made.

She said: “They signed up together as Pals, served as Pals and we need to remember them as Pals. They were local boys and even Remembrance Sunday isn’t enough. We need to remember them all the way through the year.”

Copy the link below to watch the programme.