It is going to be one of the most extensive remembrance events ever organised, and will have an impact on communities right across the country.
Towns and villages, schools and businesses will be involved and we hope that AC Services (Southern) will be able to play its part.
The First World War Centenary will start on August 4th, 2014, with a wreath-laying ceremony at Glasgow’s Cenotaph; an event at the Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium, where equal numbers of British and German soldiers are buried; and a candlelit vigil at Westminster Abbey, which will finish at 11pm – the moment war was declared.
That same day, the Imperial War Museum will be re-opened following a £35 million refurbishment of the First World War galleries.
For the next four years, the Government has set out a programme of national acts of remembrance, cultural initiatives and educational opportunities, which will touch all our lives in some way and local communities are being strongly encouraged to take part.
The Minister responsible for the First World War Centenary, Culture Secretary Maria Miller, said: “On 4 August, 1914 we entered the war – a war like no other the world had seen. It is right we remember and mark the centenary of this momentous day in the world’s history, bringing its importance alive for younger generations and remembering the price that was paid by all involved.”
As well as marking key events such as the first day of the Battle of the Somme (July 1st, 2016) and Armistice Day (November 11th, 2018), the government has created a fund which will allow two students and a teacher from every maintained school in England to visit First World War battlefields and find out about members of their local communities who fought in the war.
Plans are already under way for some of the other events that will mark the Centenary:
• Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles has announced a competition to design specially commissioned paving stones, which will be presented to councils in areas where recipients of the Victoria Cross were born. Each paving stone will feature a QR code so that smart phone users can scan the code and find out more about their local hero
• There will be government funding to help local communities restore and refurbish their war memorials
• A campaign has been launched to get companies, who existed 100 years ago and who focus on crafts with a modern application, to participate in a Centenary Apprenticeship scheme. The aim is to get 100 companies signed up in 100 days
In addition, Jenny Waldman, who was the Creative Producer for London 2012 has been given a brief to deliver a range of cultural events over the four year period backed by a £10 million government fund.
The First World War Centenary will be a great way for us to remember all those who gave up their lives during those four unforgettable years and a great way for local communities, schools, business, pubs and restaurants to get together and make their own contribution to the remembrance.