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The 100 year anniversary of the First World War will be remembered tonight in Sittingbourne and Sheppey

By Lewis Dyson

The 100 year anniversary of the start of the First World War will be remembered in Sittingbourne and Sheppey tonight.

Islander Nicola Stokes is organising a candlelight vigil at the Sheerness War Memorial in Bridge Road, Sheerness, opposite the train station, at 10pm with lights going out at 11pm. All are welcome to attend.

Swale council will also be supporting the national Lights Out campaign by leaving one bulb switched on at Swale House from 10pm to 11pm.

Gordon Henderson and Bernie Doran in Sittingbourne Cemetery

The single light will be based on the ground floor in view of anyone walking or driving by the East Street, Sittingbourne offices.

Council leader Andrew Bowles said: "This is a subject close to my heart so I am very keen for Swale Borough Council to support important commemorations such as Lights Out."

He added later in the year Mayor of Swale, Cllr George Bobbin will be going on an annual trip to Ypes in France, which is twinned with Sittingbourne, where he will be taking part in the Armistice Service of Remembrance.

MP Gordon Henderson has visited a number of war graves in Sittingbourne and Sheppey with Bernie Doran, who is the South East representative for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which cares for cemeteries and memorials across the world.

Gordon Henderson and Bernie Doran in Sheppey Cemetery

Mr Henderson said: “What struck me most about the war graves was the way in which they stood out. Many of the graves in our cemeteries have become run down and unkempt because the families of the dead have themselves passed away and there is no longer anybody to maintain their graves.

"Not so the war graves. They were clean, tidy and well maintained.

“It is a credit to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and the governments that fund it, that the grave of somebody who was killed in the First World War, one hundred years ago, is still being maintained properly.

“I think it is fantastic that the sacrifice so many of our young men and women made, so long ago, continues to be recognized in this way.”

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