Town hall chiefs and a key cross-community group will collaborate to organise a 'peace vigil' for Gaza and help get support to civilians in need.

Bolton has felt the reverberations of the devastating conflict in recent weeks with a pro-Palestinian protest earlier this month attracting around 2,000 demonstrators to Victoria Square.

Now, senior councillors say they hope to strengthen the authority's links with Bolton Interfaith Council with a view to holding a peace vigil in the same location in near future, which could help raise funds for charities working with people in the stricken region.

Cllr Martin Donaghy said: “We believe this is the most appropriate forum for the town to come together and express their prayers and concerns about the situation but also to offer some material support to people in need.”

The Victoria Square rally on October 14, organised by the group Bolton4Palestine, saw demonstrators congregate on Queens Park before making their way up Spa Road and on to Victoria Square.

The Bolton News: On October 14 demonstrators made their way from Queens Park to Victoria SquareOn October 14 demonstrators made their way from Queens Park to Victoria Square (Image: Henry Lisowski)

There they heard a range of speeches calling for an end to the violence and support for Palestine’s embattled civilian population.

Last week Bolton Labour, the ruling group on the council, issued a its own statement condemning “the appalling violence which is taking place in Israel and Gaza” and calling on the government and MPs to demand a ceasefire.

The statement called for the release of Israeli hostages and for humanitarian aid to be delivered, while pledging to “do all we can to raise money for the charities who are delivering relief.”

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Cllr Donaghy attended a meeting on Monday with Cllr Linda Thomas and several senior Bolton Council officers to examine  how they could build up links with the Interfaith Council and also to look for the most appropriate charities to connect with.

They say that the forum will include members of all faith groups and will look for the most appropriate time to hold its peace vigil.

Cllr Thomas said: “This is all about communities coming together, it’s about cohesion.

“When we have this vigil we want people of all faiths and none to attend.”

She added: “We’ve always been very good in Bolton with showing the strength of our communities and I think this will send a message not just to our town but to others as well.”