First World War Centenary

Next month is an important moment in our nation’s history as we mark one hundred years since Britain entered the First World War.

For me, as for so many, this is a very personal anniversary. My own father fought in the First World War – at Gallipoli and in Palestine. Many of you will have your own connection to the war in some way.

So, it is right that we mark this anniversary properly. In Worcestershire, a wide variety of events are taking place over the next couple of months. From exhibitions, services at Worcester Cathedral to a family activity day at Worcester Racecourse, there is plenty of opportunity for everyone to get involved, pay their respects and learn more about the Great War. I’ve already attended the commemoration event in Droitwich.

A national ‘Lights Out’ is also taking place on 4th August. Everyone in the UK is invited to turn off their lights from 10pm to 11pm, leaving on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection on the First World War. National landmarks like Blackpool illuminations, the Houses of Parliament, and Tower Bridge will also turn off their lights, as well as organisations like the BBC. It will be a really special moment and I hope local people will want to take part.

Next year marks two other anniversaries for our country when we commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta and 750th anniversary of the Simon de Montfort parliament. Of course, Evesham and Worcester play a huge role in both because Simon de Montfort died in the Battle of Evesham and King John lies in Worcester cathedral; preparations are well underway for events locally.

All these anniversaries are important, not just because they help us to remember important dates in our nation’s history but also because they remind us of the importance of democracy and how fortunate we are to live in one. Given the atrocities we hear about in Syria, Iraq, Gaza and eastern Ukraine, this message is more important now than ever.


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