Readers & Speakers
Pictured: Festival readers and speakers after the second night (from left): Gillian Peel, Jim Corrigall, Theresa Sowerby and David Rushton. Photo: John Hewerdine.


A festival of English poetry during war-time attracted lively audiences to Padiham Unitarian Chapel (in Lancashire) on the first three Saturdays of June 2017, with numbers averaging around 50 each evening.   This third annual poetry festival at the Padiham Chapel was entitled ‘Edward Thomas and the English War Poets’, and marked the centenary of the death of Edward Thomas at the Front in April 1917. 

In the first lecture (on 3rd June), the poet Theresa Sowerby explored First World War poetry, particularly that of Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, against the wider culture of the time.   She was supported by readings from David Rushton. 

Then on 10th June, Rev Jim Corrigall, minister at Padiham, concentrated on Edward Thomas, asking whether he is best described as a nature poet or war poet, with support from Rev Gillian Peel as reader.    Finally (17th June), the poet Edmund Prestwich examined the brutally-honest writings of the Second World War poet Keith Douglas, who was killed in the Normandy landings at the early age of 24.  

Lively discussion followed the lectures.   Several audience members said afterwards they’d greatly enjoyed the festival, which they described as ‘brilliant’.   The Festival was organised by the Lancashire Collaborative Ministry.

Jim Corrigall

Padiham Unitarian Chapel has become the first church in the Padiham-Burnley-Pendle area to gain approval to hold same-sex weddings.  


 When, fourteen years ago Barry Brown volunteered to run a series of Concerts he didn't even expect there to be a second season. Such though has been the tremendous support, encouraging comments and enthusiasm  that he lasted out for a 10th season.  The work involved was getting to be a lot for one person but so many people said it would be a great pity to give up.  There was great relief then when initially two and then a third person came forward to help. It was, therefore, with immense pleasure that we announced a further season of four concerts.

As we go into the new year there are two concerts left. First we have another new name...John Barker, a trumpet virtuoso,on March 11th on stage with him will be Helen Davies, a percussionist of immense versatility, along with Samuel Hudson, the talented Director of Music at Blackburn Cathedral, who will not only accompany Helen but also play some organ solos.  

The season ends, on 6th May with the Rossendale Encore Concert Band, a talented local brass band who have won many accolades - and thanks to the large screen you will have a ringside seat for both these concerts.

We made donations of £750 each to the NW Air Ambulance and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund from the proceeds of last year and presentations were made at two of the concerts.  It is hoped we will be able to repeat this exercise at the conclusion of this the 13th series of concerts by sharing a donation with both these worthwhile charities.

Be sure to be with us on the 11th of March to enjoy an evening of very fine musicianship!

Around 100 people attended a joint Christian-Muslim service of worship on Sunday 23rd October at Padiham Unitarian Chapel. Entitled 'Uniting for Peace', it included readings from scripture, prayers for peace, hymn singing and Sufi mystical chanting (in Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and English). Many attenders praised the 'joyful spirit' that prevailed.