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Lights out to commemorate 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 01, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

  • From the left, Deputy Mayor of Leek Pam Wood with her granddaughter Alex Eeley, aged 11.

  • From the left, Deputy Mayor of Leek Pam Wood with her granddaughter Alex Eeley, aged 11.

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Community leaders and members of the Royal British Legion are urging the people of Leek to take part in a national commemorative event.

Everyone in the UK is being asked to take part in 'Lights Out' – by turning off their lights from 10pm until 11pm on Monday, August 4, leaving on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection.

The project is being organised by '14-18 NOW', the national cultural programme for the First World War centenary commemorations.

Leek Town Mayor Keith Harrison , who is also a member of the Royal British Legion, said: "I would hope that people will just look back and respect what it is all about.

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"I know it is an unusual thing to happen, but it's meant for a purpose of commemoration.

"I do hope people take part even if for just a few minutes – turn their lights out and light a candle in remembrance.

"It's about people just stopping and thinking."

Deputy Mayor Pam Wood said: "This is a national project to commemorate the start of the First World War and we would like the people of Leek to join in. I would just also like to remind people to keep safe with candles, though."

Hannah Barter, co-ordinator of the 'Leek 1914' project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of First World War, added: "As part of the project it would be good if people could participate in this as a mark of respect of participating in a national programme marking the 100th anniversary."

The inspiration for 'Lights Out' comes from a famous remark made on the eve of the outbreak of war by the then Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey. He said: "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

Britain declared war on Germany at 11pm on August 4, 1914.

Millions of people across the country are expected to participate in 'Lights Out' and hundreds of local authorities, iconic buildings, national organisations including the BBC and the Royal British Legion, parish councils and places of worship have pledged their support.

Iconic buildings and landmarks such as Blackpool Illuminations, the Houses of Parliament, the Eden Project, the Imperial War Museums and Tower Bridge will turn off their lights.

The Royal British Legion has launched a campaign for at least one million candles to be lit across the UK, and theatre productions including those of the National Theatre's War Horse, will invite their audiences to take part in 'Lights Out' after their curtain calls.

'Lights Out' complements the candlelit vigil service to be held in Westminster Abbey from 10pm to 11pm on August 4. The 14-18 NOW programme is funded by £10 million granted from the National Lottery including The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Arts Council England (ACE) which are contributing £5 million each.

For more information go to www.1418NOW.org.uk/lightsout.

History leaps from pages of WW1 book: Page 6

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