The anniversary of the start of the First World War is looming large and everyone in the UK has been urged to mark it.
They have been asked to turn all their lights out from 10pm to 11pm 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 the shared memory, simply called LIGHTS OUT, comes from a famous remark made on the eve of the outbreak of war by the then Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey.
He 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.
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. 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.
Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller has created an original LIGHTS OUT digital artwork in the form of an app, which anyone can download for free. Over the days leading up to August 4 a new short film will be revealed each day, culminating in a film being revealed for just one hour from 10pm-11pm on August 4.
LIGHTS OUT complements the candlelit vigil service to be held in Westminster Abbey from 10pm to 11pm on August 4.
At Halifax Town Hall a candle will be lit to illuminate the Book of Remembrance which records those from Calderdale who lost their lives during the Great War.
The 14-18 NOW programme is funded by £10m granted from the National Lottery including The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Arts Council England (ACE) which are contributing £5m each.
For more information and to find LIGHTS OUT events in your local area go to: www.1418NOW.org.uk/lightsout