The people of Bosley, affected by the wood flour mill disaster a year ago, have hailed last weekend’s commemorative activities as a success that helped the community to come together to reflect and remember the events of July 17, 2015.
Four people – Dorothy Bailey, Williams Barks, Derek Moore and Jason Shingler – died in explosions and a huge fire at the wood treatment plant, with many more injured, properties extensively damaged and employees put out of work.
A flower festival, a day of family activities and two religious services on Sunday were all well attended and an estimated 130 people attended a service in a marquee on Sunday morning, with a similar number present in the evening service at Bosley Chapel.
Sam Alston, chairman of Bosley Parish Council, said: “It went very well and the services were exceptionally well attended.
“It was an important anniversary that needed the right approach and I think that to have the Sunday morning services in a marquee, in the outdoors, set precisely the right tone and atmosphere.”
The Rev John Harries, Vicar of Bosley, said: “The weekend of events provided a valuable opportunity for the community to come together in many ways and feel supported.
“The services on Sunday were of great comfort to all who attended. They provided an opportunity for us to reflect together on the devastating impact of the explosion on our lives, to remember loved ones and friends who lost their lives and to give thanks for all those who have shared our journey.”
Representatives from various agencies involved in dealing with the disaster, its aftermath and lending ongoing support to the community, joined in the religious services and took part in some of the activities, including a tug of war.
Jane Nixon, one of the organisers, said: “We were very pleased with the way all the events came together and with the overwhelming response we had from the people of Bosley and the wider community.
“We are very grateful to the press and broadcast organisations for respecting our wishes to allow us to carry out these events in private.
Members of Cheshire East Council’s partnerships and communities team continue to lend support to the people of Bosley and the wider community.
Councillor Paul Bates, Cabinet member for communities and health, said: “At the evening service, the minister commented on the work done by the Council’s community teams. This was very much appreciated.
“I would like the people of Bosley to be aware that they are not alone. We will always be here for you and may the village of Bosley find peace and comfort in its own time.”
Council Chief Executive Mike Suarez, who took part in the family events, said: “The community has shown great resilience and dignity throughout this troubled year and we hope that this anniversary weekend will have helped those deeply affected by the tragedy, to find strength from each other and the resolve to rebuild their lives.”
Although the Bosley disaster fund, which had reached an amazing £240,000, has now officially closed, a further fundraising event is planned in aid of charities and organisations which played a part in supporting the community.
An all-stars football match will take place on Sunday (July 24), at Macclesfield Football Club. Celebrities from television’s soaps Emmerdale and Coronation Street will help to raise money for the Air Ambulance service and other charities.