Lights Out at Shire Hall to mark World War One centenary

Stroud News and Journal: Lights Out (8177668) Lights Out (8177668)

GLOUCESTERSHIRE County Council will be taking part in a poignant commemoration to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, next month.

The council will join millions of people across the country to take part in LIGHTS OUT on Monday, August 4.

The event will see people turn off their lights between 10pm and 11pm, leaving on either a single candle or light as a mark of respect and to reflect on the significance of the historic date.

LIGHTS OUT is the headline project of the cultural programme ‘14-18 NOW’ and more than a million candles are expected to be lit.

One of these will be at Gloucestershire County Council’s Shire Hall where all the lights in the building will be switched-off, allowing a single candle illuminating reception to take centre stage.

The idea to light a candle to mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War is inspired by the famous words of the wartime Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey.

As the dreaded moment of the outbreak of war loomed, he said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

The Royal British Legion has been working closely with 14-18 NOW to ensure the LIGHTS OUT project is a success and members hope that it will be one of the largest events of its kind ever seen in the UK.

One of the biggest gatherings is expected to be at Westminster Abbey where a candlelit vigil will be held. Leading international artists have been commissioned to create public artworks in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England and Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller has created digital artwork in the form of an app.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council said: “We are immensely proud to be involved in this important commemorative event and will be lighting a candle in our Shire Hall reception.

“I would urge everyone who is able to take part, to come together in this shared moment of reflection during the hour that Britain entered the war one hundred years ago.

“It can’t be understated how vital it is for younger generations to be educated about the sacrifice and the loss which those who went before them endured to secure our freedom.”

For more information on LIGHTS OUT and other events being arranged as part of the centenary of World War One, visit www.1418now.org.uk

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