Candle campaign to mark war centenary

By Ian Dipple Friday 11 July 2014 Updated: 11/07 09:07

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Buy photos » Peter Robinson, president of the Alcester branch of the Royal British Legion and deputy standard bearer Graham Fox are urging residents to join in the national Lights Out event. (s)

THE LIGHTS are set to go out across Redditch and Alcester to mark Britain’s entry into the First World War.

Vigils are being held in both towns as part of a nationwide act of remembrance on Monday, August 4 to mark the occasion, 100 years on.

The Lights Out campaign is being championed by The Royal British Legion and residents are urged to take part by turning out their lights and placing a single candle in the window of their home or business between 10pm and 11pm on the day.

The simple act signifies the words of Sir Edwin Grey, Foreign Secretary at the time, who on the eve of Britain’s entry into the war stood at the window of the Foreign Office, watching the lamps being lit at dusk, and said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

Special candles created for the occasion are on sale from Marks & Spencer during July.

In Redditch a vigil will be held at St Philip’s Church in Webheath at the end of the first day of the week long Remembering

Redditch’s Fallen Heroes exhibition. This will outline some of the research done by volunteers who for the last two years have been researching the lives of the 400 or so men named on war memorials across the borough who were killed during the conflict.

During the hour long vigil candles will be extinguished to signify Sir Edward’s words.

In Alcester, a vigil will also be held at the town’s war memorial outside St Nicholas Church off the High Street between 10.45pm and 11.15pm. Residents are invited to bring a candle to light during the event. On Sunday, August 3, a First World War Centenary Church Service will be held in the church starting at 3pm.

Redditch Borough Council is also taking part in the event by plunging the Town Hall into darkness for the hour long period.

J

ohn Godwin, head of leisure and cultural services, said: “The Lights Out event is linked closely to the Royal British Legion and is expected to be one of the biggest participatory events ever seen in the UK. It is very important we recognise the anniversary of the First World War and I would encourage everyone to get involved.”

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