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When Winston Churchill Visited Turf Moor

26 June 2015

Seventy years ago today, on Wednesday, June 27, 1945, an enthusiastic crowd of more than 10,000 Burnley people assembled at Turf Moor to give a rapturous welcome to the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.

After VE day the previous month, Churchill had decided to embark on a countrywide tour to address the ordinary folk throughout the country.

Even though he was then in his 71st year he was determined to personally express his thanks to as many of his countrymen and women as he could for their efforts and sacrifices during six long years of war.

Cheering crowds lined the route as his motorcade swept through the town and his appearance at Turf Moor was greeted with spontaneous cries of “For he’s a jolly good fellow”.

He was instantly recognisable with his John Bull hat, a pink carnation in his buttonhole and, of course, the inevitable cigar.

After a rousing speech, Churchill thanked the Turf Moor crowd for their welcome and then, he was gone, on to the next stage of his tour.

Just weeks later the Conservatives, led by Winston Churchill, were overwhelmingly defeated in a General Election.

Winston Churchill was knighted in 1953 and died in 1965 aged 90, and became one of very few commoners to be honoured with a state funeral.

Pictured: Winston Churchill (right) addressing the Turf Moor crowd in June 1945. His companions were all candidates in the forthcoming General Election, from the left Richard Fort, candidate for Clitheroe, Harmar Nicholls, candidate for Nelson and Colne and H. Milnes, candidate for Burnley. (This image is courtesy of Lancashire County Library and Information service.)
An interesting modern twist is that Harmar Nicholls was the father of Sue Nicholls, who plays Audrey Roberts in Coronation Street.



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