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Lights Out initiative will commemorate the start of World War One

By Chris Hunter

Lights will go out across Medway in memory of the hour Britain declared war on Germany 100 years ago.

Everyone in the UK is invited to take part in a nationwide hour of remembrance by turning off their lights from 10pm to 11pm on Monday, August 4, leaving on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection.

The initiative - dubbed Lights Out - is inspired by the quote of former Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, who is said to have remarked on the evening of August 3 1914: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”.

The following evening, at 11pm, Britain declared war on Germany.

In Medway, there will be a commemorative vigil service at Rochester Cathedral at 10pm.

Dignitaries including MPs and the Lord Lieutenant are expected to attend the service, which will include a moment to reflect the Lights Out initiative.

Tickets have all gone for the midnight service at the Cathedral tonight. Picture: Bishop of Rochester Academy.
Tickets have all gone for the midnight service at the Cathedral tonight. Picture: Bishop of Rochester Academy.

Medway Council confirmed lights would be turned off at council headquarters in Gun Wharf, and by partner arts organisations, including Nucleus Arts, POP and Chatham Intra along Chatham High Street, where single lights would be placed in windows.

It was hoped this would be extended along the High Street to the Nucleus Arts shop in Rochester High Street.

A council statement said: “Medway has a rich and long military history (tracing back to the establishment of a naval dockyard by Henry VIII in 1547) of which it is rightly proud and so the council is delighted to be involved in this project to mark the hour when Britain entered the First World War 100 years ago.”

Anna Christoforou of Lights Out said the initiative was something people were encouraged to take part in collaboratively or as individuals, but she also hoped many local authorities would support the event like Medway was planning to.

She added: “It seems like they’re really embracing the initiative so that’s excellent. Hundreds of organisations are pledging their support.”

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