First World War Centenary Event: The Great Send Off

unnamed7 September 2014

10.30 – 2pm


All 700 places have now been filled for the Great Send Off when Port Sunlight Village Trust will be bringing together members of the local community and employees of Unilever Port Sunlight to recreate an event which took place 100 years ago as a reminder of the sacrifices people from this village made. The 700 Lever employees were the largest group of volunteers from any works in the country to sign-up to fight in the First World War.

The Trust launched a public appeal at the end of July to fill the final few hundred places and received an overwhelming response. The list includes Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South, who will be travelling with the ‘Port Sunlight Volunteers’ to Chester.

Would-be spectators are being encouraged to line the route dressed in period costume, and to sing along with the 700 as they march through Chester city centre accompanied by the Port Sunlight Lyceum Brass Band and the Over by Christmas Chorus.

7 September 2014 is also the centenary of the Battle of Mons for which a separate event is being staged in Chester. However, for a short while, soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of The Mercian Regiment, representatives from many ex-Service organisations, and Army Cadets and Air Training Corps will join up with the 700 Port Sunlight Volunteers for the final stages of their walk to Chester Castle.

Those wishing to come and watch the event in either Port Sunlight or Chester are advised to visit for more information about event timings and road closures. An approximate time-line for the event is as follows:

10.30 Great Send Off parade exits Unilever Port Sunlight gates

10.45 William Hesketh Lever’s speech to the ‘Port Sunlight Volunteers’

10.50 All sing God Save the King

11.00 Great Send Off parade boards train at Port Sunlight train station

11.30 Great Send Off parade arrives at Chester train station

12.00 Great Send Off parade begins walk to Chester Castle via Chester Cathedral

12.30 Great Send Off parade arrives at Chester Cathedral to join up with the Battle of Mons parade

12.45 Two parades depart Chester Castle

13.00 Parade arrives at The Castle Square

13.15   General Mackinnon’s speech to the ‘Port Sunlight Volunteers’

13.30 Enlistment of the ‘Port Sunlight Volunteers’

14.00 Event close

It will be free to enter the Cheshire Military Museum at Chester Castle on the day, and the Tame Valley Classic Car club will stage a static display of vintage and classic cars in Port Sunlight village.