THEY huddled, tapering lines of villagers forged their own paths to glory at Saddleworth’s centenary Remembrance Sunday celebration.

Braving freezing rain and biting winds, men, women and children, some only a few months old, shared their personal sacred moments of memory on a hillside climb to the iconic cenotaph on Pots and Pans overlooking the villages.

Upward of a thousand people gathered at Saddleworth's Pennine memorial for a service conducted by Reverend Canon Sharon Jones, Team Rector.

The Last Post was played by Nicola Bolger from Dobcross Brass Monkeys and it was a special day for Alison Clowes who proudly carried the Royal British Legion's distinguished standard.

Alison said: “It was a moving and an amazing experience both at the same time. I am very proud to say that I have been able to be a part of the service.”

Cllr Robert Knotts, chair of Saddleworth Parish Council and his wife Lesley, laid a wreath along with royal British legion, community groups, police and other organisations.

And the 20-strong Oldham Mountain Rescue Team who attended the ceremony were called out to two separate incidents were members of the public had slipped on the descent from the grade two monument after the service.

An OMRT spokesman said: “It was a quirk of fate the incidents were within 100m of each other and involved almost identical injuries.

“After assessment by a team medic the first walker was assisted off the hill and taken home by the team.

“The second walker had to be evacuated initially by stretcher and a team Land Rover before being transferred to Tameside Hospital in another vehicle.”

In Austerlands, a crowd of around 170 paid tribute at Saddleworth’s oldest war memorial, exceeding the expectations of the organisers’ earlier appeal for 100 residents.

The service was conducted by Roger Fielding and wreaths were laid by the Mayor of Austerlands, Joan Sykes, John Moncur (ex-Royal Air Force) on behalf of Saddleworth Parish Council; by Geoff Fielding on behalf of the Scouthead and Austerlands Community Group and Cllr Derek Heffernan. Barry Scott (ex-East Lancashire Regiment) acted as the guard of honour.

The Last Post was sounded by local girl Vicky Prescott and proceedings closed with extracts from a 1915 poem, written by Saddleworth poet Ammon Wrigley, entitled The Lads of Austerlands & Scouthead which was read by Mrs Susan Smith.

Austerlands resident David Needham said: “We were overwhelmed, at the turn out; from an informal gathering of a handful of people, started in 1979, popularity of the event has grown significantly over the last few years.

“It was really good to see so many children in attendance, including a baby of a few weeks old – Luna the daughter of our bugle player.

“Even the service bus stopped to let passengers get off for a few minutes to pay their respects; before allowing them to re-board after proceedings.

“Interest this year was certainly heightened with the early introduction of a soldier’s silhouette at the war memorial and by lamppost poppies installed throughout the village by the Scouthead & Austerlands Community Group, whose, members also helped on the day.

“Our appreciation goes to Amberon Traffic Management for their advice and assistance. We should also like to thank the landlords of the Spinners Arms for the free meat and potato pie provided afterwards.”

It was a proud day too for the 2200df Saddleworth Air Cadets who attended parades/services at Pot and Pans and Lees.