A PRAYER vigil is being held in Wolverhampton this weekend to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
The vigil at St Peter's Collegiate Church on Sunday (August 3) is one of a series of events taking place around the city over the next few years to remember those who fought and died during the "war to end all wars". They include acts of remembrance, exhibitions and stage plays, as well as activities for all the family.
As the nation prepares to commemorate the centenary of the day Britain declared war – August 4, 1914 – St Peter's Collegiate Church will be holding a prayer vigil, open to people of all faiths and none, on August 3 from 7.15pm-9pm.
Residents in Wolverhampton are also being encouraged to take part in the Royal British Legion's national Lights Out initiative, which is asking people to turn off their lights for an hour from 10pm on Monday (August 4) – leaving only a single light or candle for this symbolic act of reflection and hope.
This act will be repeated at a televised commemoration at Westminster Abbey on August 4.
Lights Out is being organised in recognition of the comment by Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary in 1914, who said: "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime." For more details www.britishlegion.org.uk/lights-out.
Other events in the coming months include:
Bantock House will stage its inaugural World War Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, September 6 and 7, featuring nostalgia, re-enactments, period costume, music and stalls.
The museum is working with Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies with both venues hosting a series of exhibitions based on letters written during the conflict, including Letters Home at Bantock House from Thursday, August 14 to Sunday, November 2.
Bantock House Museum will be staging free talks – Letters Home on Tuesday, September 2.
City Archivist Heidi McIntosh will be giving a talk about the discovery of a white feather sent to a local man accusing him of cowardice despite him being excused from military service at Wolverhampton Art Gallery on Friday, August 15.
Full details of all the events taking place in Wolverhampton are available at www.wolverhamp ton.gov.uk/worldwar1, with many more set to be arranged over the next few years.
Councillor Elias Mattu, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, said: "We have a duty to educate today's generation about what the country went through 100 years ago, and it is important that people in Wolverhampton are able to remember this terrible conflict."