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Lights Out: How Yorkshire will mark WW1 centenary this week

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  • by Andrew Robinson
 

COMMUNITIES across Yorkshire will honour the local men and women who served in the Great War at special ceremonies taking place on Monday, August 4 -the 100th anniversary of Britain declaring war on Germany.

People will gather in churches, at war memorials and village halls for public Lights Out events where commemorative candles will be lit.

Thousands more are expected to mark the occasion privately by turning the lights off in their home and lighting a single candle or leaving on a single light.

The Royal British Legion is hoping a million candles will be lit across the nation.

Over 500 local authorities are taking part.

The inspiration for the initiative is taken from the comment by the Foreign Secretary in 1914, Sir Edward Gray, who said on the eve of war: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

Many of the events are observing the official timings in lighting candles between 10pm and 11pm on the Monday while others are staging events earlier in the day.

The hour between 10pm and 11pm represents the final minutes of peace on August 4 1914 as Britain declared war on Germany at 11pm on August 4.

At Leeds Minster on August 4 there will be a vigil of commemoration from 10pm shortly after 100 strokes of a partially-muffled tolling bell.

There will be readings from the work of the famous Leeds padre ‘Woodbine Willie’ - the Reverend Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy - who served as a curate in Leeds before his internationally acclaimed ministry to the serving troops which saw him hand over Woodbine cigarettes and Bibles to soldiers.

The Leeds Minster event will include songs from the era and will conclude as the clock strikes 11pm.

Members of the public are invited to attend an act of remembrance and reflection at Victoria Gardens in Leeds city centre from 10.45pm to 11.15pm.

There will be readings, a short item of music and the illumination and then dimming of a special light at Victoria Gardens.

In Bramhope, Leeds, members of the Royal British Legion and others will gather in the memorial gardens in Eastgate to remember the 11 local men who died in the First World War.

In Adel, Leeds, there will be readings of war poems at the memorial hall from 10pm in honour of 18 local men who gave their lives.

Events are also taking place at Adel parish church from 11am and from 2pm including a Great War display. The Adel history society has produced a booklet, priced £3, which is a commemorative guide to war graves and headstones in the churchyard at Adel.

In Sheffield a lone light will shine from the Town Hall and council offices at Moorfoot and Howden House between 10pm and 11pm.

Across the Craven area, lights will be turned off at public buildings including Skipton Town Hall.

A peace vigil led by the Grassington and District Peace Group and Skipton and Airton Quakers will take place in the town’s market square from 11am and will then move to outside Skipton Town Hall from 2pm.

At Castle Howard in North Yorkshire the gilt lantern on the stately home’s iconic dome will be illuminated with a single light which should be seen for miles around.

At Ryedale’s Hovingham war memorial, 15 candles will be light just before 10pm on August 4, one for each name on the war memorial, which itself will be floodlit.

At 10pm, a bugle will sound, marking ‘lights out’, leaving only the candles to burn during a minute’s silent reflection. Those attending the Hovingham event are invited to bring their own candle and to wear their medals.

North Yorkshire County Council and Hambleton District Council are working on a joint project to create a ‘memory tree’ in the grounds of County Hall, Northallerton.

There will be a special Lights Out event in Filey which is being led by the Royal British Legion.

Legion members and sea cadets will carry 73 lights in torchlit remembrance parade in honour of the Filey men who gave their lives.

Legion members have acquired 73 glass jars, each bearing the name of a soldier and containing a candle. Soprano Anna Shaw will sing I Vow to Thee, My Country.

The Filey event will take place from 9pm on August 4, starting behind the bus station and ending at the memorial gardens in Murray Street.

There will be a candlelit vigil from 10pm at Malton war memorial in North Yorkshire and a candle will be lit at the book of remembrance at Halifax Town Hall.

In Bedale, the Lights Out event will be marked by the Royal British Legion at the war memorial.

And the Horbury, Sitlington and Ossett Royal British Legion branch are holding a service of remembrance from 10pm.

In Doncaster, the Victoria Cross Trust is holding an event at its museum project at Askworth Barracks on Cedar Road.

An event will take place at the Bugthorpe War Memorial Institute off Barf Lane at Bugthorpe in East Yorkshire.

At Billingley, near Barnsley, there will be a rememebrance evening event in the village hall which will include a display of memorabilia from the Great War. A booklet has been produced containing details of men from the village who served.

In Withernsea, East Yorkshire, a Lights Out event will take place on the promenade near Pier Towers from 10pm on August 4.

In London, Tower Bridge will switch off its lights at 10pm, leaving only the walkways lit and a vigil will be held at Westminster Abbey where a final, symbolic flame will be extinguished at 11pm

In Blackpool, the famous Illuminations will be turned off at 10pm.

Thousands of individuals have joined together on Facebook to promise to observe the Lights Out event, which also has the support of Yorkshire MPs, writers, sports people, historians, servicemen and ex-servicemen and the families.

• Tell us why you are marking the occasion - and where - and let us know what happened to your family in the 1914-18 war.

Commemorative candles can be purchased for £4 from Marks & Spencer stores or from the company’s website, with profits going to The Royal British Legion.

Email: andrew.robinson1@ypn.co.uk

Event details at: www.1418NOW.org.uk/lightsout

 

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