TWO of the biggest public celebrations seen in South Cumbria are featured today - the Peace Day which marked the official end of the First World War and the many events linked with the arrival of a new millennium.

It is now almost 20 years since schools, streets and community groups held commemorative events and handed out souvenir mugs and medals to mark the significant calendar change from 1999 to 2000.

And a century ago tomorrow the streets were filled with people on what was termed Joy Day - the national party to mark the conclusion of formal peace negotiations after the 1914 to 1918 conflict.

Many Barrow youngsters were presented with certificates from the mayor Alfred Barrow to mark their role in providing comforts for the soldiers – anything from knitting socks and balaclavas to writing letters or raising cash for gifts sent to the trenches like footballs, gramophones or cigarettes.

Among those to receive one was Elizabeth Wardman, who lived from 1907 to 1941.

Her life and the events of July 19 in 1919 has been researched as part of a family history project by her niece Cheryl Draper, of Friars Lane.

She discovered that a committee was formed at the start of April to organise events for the national thanksgiving for peace and went on to spend a total of £1,615.

There was a huge parade in Barrow town centre and smaller events were held throughout the borough.

Streets were decorated with flags and bunting and an estimated 14,000 children took part in activities set up at more than 20 school sites.

It was said that 500 mothers with children aged under five were led by the St Andrew’s Pipe Band from the Salvation Army Fortress to Infield House, off Abbey Road, for an afternoon of fun.

There was also a series of large bonfires, including Yarlside Hill, Barrow and on the Lakeland peaks of Scafell and Helvellyn. A total of 23 blazes could be seen from the top of the Hoad at Ulverston.