Festival to remember centenary of bloody battle

Thiepval in northern France, a memorial to the missing which commemorates those who died in the Somme and have no known grave.
Thiepval in northern France, a memorial to the missing which commemorates those who died in the Somme and have no known grave.

One of the bloodiest battles in military history is being commemorated in flowers.

A flower festival is being held in Alnwick Castle to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

The festival opens on Friday, July 1, 100 years to the day that the battle began.

Fought between July 1 and November 13, 1916, the British suffered almost 60,000 casualties on the first day alone, with 20,000 dead. By the end of the campaign, the Allies and Central Powers would lose more than 1.5million men.

The festival, in aid of SSAFA Northumberland, is being held in the castle State Rooms, by permission of the Duchess of Northumberland, from July 1 to July 3.

Fifty flower arrangers will have 30 displays throughout the State Rooms with the main displays in the Upper Guard Chamber.

Tickets cost £10 per person and can bought online at http:www.jumblebee.co.uk/ssafanorthumberland

Proceeds will aid SSAFA volunteers help those that are serving or have served in any branch of the Armed Forces.

A century ago, SSAFA was there to care for the surviving casualties of the Somme, the widows and their families and help them through their difficulties.

SSAFA is the Uk’s oldest military charity. It was set up in 1885 by Major James Gildea, following the departure of the Second Expeditionary Force for Egypt.