Lights out for war centenary

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Everyone in the country is invited to take part in Lights Out by turning off their lights for an hour on August 4, leaving on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection.

People can take part in whatever way they chose, marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War either individually or by attending one of the many events being organised around the country for a collective experience.

The project is being organised by 14-18 Now, the official cultural programme for the First World War Centenary Commemorations.

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: “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, ushering in one of the darkest periods in our history.

Millions of people 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 already pledged their support.

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

Plus 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, both nationally and internationally, will invite their audiences to take part in Lights Out after their curtain calls.

Four leading international artists have been commissioned by 14-18 Now to create striking public artworks in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, as Lights Out focal points for each of the UK’s four nations.

Lights Out complements the candlelit vigil service to be held in Westminster Abbey from 10pm to 11pm on Monday, August 4.

The 14-18 Now programme is funded by £10million granted from the National Lottery, including The Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England which are contributing £5million each.

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