In search for the fallen

Bamber Bridge mill girl, Lizzie Livesey
Bamber Bridge mill girl, Lizzie Livesey

Play tells the tale of a simple Lass and her quest to cope with loss

The true story of a Bamber Bridge mill girl, Lizzie Livesey, and her search to find the last resting place of her brother Matthew who died in the First World War battle of the Somme, has been dramatised for a series of performances around the county.

Tonight it will be performed in the intimate upstairs theatre of Preston’s city centre Korova arts café.

Andy Bennison’s production, based on Lizzie’s own journal written in 1920, tells the story of two journeys – Lizzie’s trek across war-torn France and her own emotional journey as she came to terms with the loss of her brother.

It also includes her poetry and photographs.

Money raised from performances is in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice and Maureen Nickson, who with her husband John is one of the stalwarts of the hospice’s own Charity Players, performs the piece.

Searching for Matthew tells how Lizzie travelled to the battlefields of The Somme in France in the aftermath of the Great War, searching for the resting place of a brother who died in action.

The play launched during Dying Matters Week last month.

Besides tonight’s performance it will be part of the Preston One Act Play Festival from June, 18 with the final performance on Tuesday, July 15 at Bamber Bridge library.

Andy, the St Catherine’s fundraising administrator, knew Lizzie when he was a child, and says: “This is an emotive story of one woman and the way she coped with the death of someone extremely close to her.

“It follows the feelings she experienced and the way she attempted to cope with her bereavement by travelling to France to try and find the grave of her brother. We are keen to share it with more people across the community – putting a window on one woman’s very real and unique story from a certain time in history, which evokes feelings many can still empathise with.”

Audiences will be asked for a donation to St Catherine’s – with all funds raised going towards providing the specialised care and support the charity provides to people affected by life-shortening illnesses across Central Lancashire.

Searching for Matthew: Friday, June 13, 8pm.

Tickets: £5.

To request a performance contact Andy at andrew.bennison@stcatherines.co.uk or 01772 695290.

Details: www.stcatherines.co.uk.