PEOPLE are being urged to join in a national blackout to commemorate the start of the First World War.
Residents and businesses across Hartlepool and East Durham are being asked to turn their lights off and illuminate their homes with a single candle or light between 10pm and 11pm on Monday – exactly 100 years since Britain entered the Great War.
The Heugh Gun Battery, on Hartlepool’s Headland, is just one of thousands of nationwide venues supporting the initiative, including Westminster Abbey.
And numerous locations in the Hartlepool Mail circulation area are paying their own tributes on Monday.
The Lights Out campaign has been devised by The Royal British Legion, with the backing of veterans and celebrities including Jeremy Paxman, Twiggy, Fiona Fullerton and Olympian Louis Smith.
The Legion took inspiration from the stirring words of wartime Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, who said on August 3, 1914: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”
Charles Byrne, the Legion’s director of fundraising, said: “Our vision is that over one million candles will be lit across the UK, commemorating every serviceman and woman who died during WW1.
“We hope to see candles lit at every war memorial, community centre and home in every village and in every community.”
Meanwhile various commemorative events are planned on Monday.
At 10am, at the war memorial in the centre of Greatham Village, a service will be led by Father Paul Allinson of St John The Baptist Church.
Afterwards, there will be tea, coffee and refreshments, with war memorabilia on display in Greatham Community Centre.
St George’s United Reformed Church, in Park Road, Hartlepool, will be displaying a 6ft cross outside bearing poppies, following a service commemorating the war on Sunday at 10.30am.
During Sunday’s service, the cross will be blessed.
St Cuthbert’s Church, in Manor Way, Peterlee, is hosting a service attended by town council representatives and led by church leaders from across Peterlee, from 7pm.
Padre Kevin Tromans will be at the service and donations will go to the Help for Heroes charity.
At 6pm, the Bishop of Durham, Reverend Paul Butler, will attend a service at Blackhall’s St Andrew’s Church, in Hesleden Road.
The Deputy Mayor of Durham, Councillor Patrick Conway, will attend the event, which will feature a parade by 1932 Air Training Squadron – Blackhall.
At 7pm, a representative from Wingate Parish Council will lay a wreath on the village’s war memorial, in Partridge Terrace, and a two-minute silence will be observed.
At 10.30pm, villagers will attend a candelit vigil at the war memorial in Wheatley Hill cemetery, which will include the reading of war poems and a minute’s silence at 11pm.
From 10.30pm-11pm at St Mary Magdalene’s Church, in Trimdon Village, a service will include readings, poems and reflections by candlelight to remember the 198 men from Trimdon killed in the First World War.
MP Phil Wilson will attend, alongside council representatives and veterans.