Lights out to mark the start of world war

A SINGLE light will shine from buildings across Rother district on Monday August 4 to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War.

Key venues will be turning all but one light out between 10-11pm – when, a century ago, Britain declared war on Germany.

The De La Warr Pavilion, Rother District Council Town Hall, Rye Town Council, Battle Town Council and Bexhill Museum will be plunged into darkness with the exception of a solitary light as part of the nationwide Lights Out event.

This is a shared moment to mark the hour that Britain entered the arena of war and the beginning of one of the darkest periods in our history.

The council is hoping that individuals, groups, businesses and residents will also take part to play tribute to all those who gave their lives in this conflict.

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

Contact Rother District Councils Cultural Development & Events Service on email for further information.

The Royal British Legion, Little Common Branch, for instance, is holding a short candle-lit vigil on Monday evening with doors open at the clubhouse in Meads Avenue from 8pm for music from 1914-18 played by the branch band, and socialising until 10pm, when the lights will be turned off. The poem In Flanders Field will be read out during the following time of quiet reflection. Entrance will cost £1.

Earlier on Monday, between 12-2pm, there will be a silent vigil on the promenade/beach by the Clock Tower on West Parade. It is described as “a simple act of remembrance and respect for those who died as a result of WW1 or any other act of war or violence.” Part of this event organised by Pax Christi will be to create a cairn of flat pebbles, each named in pencil, to remember a departed friend or loved one. At 2pm the cairn will be removed to the shoreline to be taken by the sea. If you cannot attend but would like to have a stone named, please ring Marie Miller on 01424 214327.

Tomorrow evening - Saturday August 2 - from 7.30pm there will be a commemorative concert at All Saints Church in Sidley with music provided by Sussex Brass and the All Saints Choir, and poetry.

All Saints Church members have also been working to adding a name to their War Memorial, that of Sergeant George Hammond, a Sidley gardener who committed suicide after the war ended, unable to cope with living when friends and colleagues had perished. There will be a rededication of the war memorial on Remembrance Sunday.