Lights to go out to remember the fallen

People are being asked to turn out their lights on August 4
People are being asked to turn out their lights on August 4

The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is to be marked by a national switch-off.

People across the county are being invited to take part in a national period of reflection by turning their lights off between 10pm and 11pm on Monday, August 4, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Candlelit vigils and ceremonies will be taking place in Kettering, Corby, Rushden and Wellingborough during the hour, although people not attending those events are also being encouraged to turn out their lights – while leaving a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection.

Millions of people are expected to take part in the event nationally and landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Imperial War Museum and Blackpool Tower will be also switching off their lights.

East Northamptonshire Council says it is backing the event by switching off lights at council buildings.

Council chairman Gill Mercer said: “This reflective project is a significant tribute to the people who fought in the First World War.

“The simple act of turning out the lights will provide a chance to pause for reflection and help ensure our country never forgets those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Elsewhere, a candlelit service takes place at Corby cenotaph from 9pm on the evening.

A candlelit vigil is also being held at Kettering war memorial between 10pm and 11pm on the same night and in Rushden a ceremony is being held at the town’s war memorial in the morning from 11am.

Paul Mills, from the Rushden Royal British Legion, said residents and legion members were being encouraged to take part in the event.

He added: “We have been trying to publicise it and raise awareness as much as possible.”

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

For more information, visit www.1418now.org.uk.

Inspirational words

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.

Sir Edward said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

Britain declared war on Germany at 11pm on August 4, 1914, ushering in one of the darkest periods in our history.

The Royal British Legion is marking the event by selling candles at branches of M&S for £4, with all the profits being donated to the Legion.

The candles can also be bought at www.marksandspencer.com.