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Clitheroe Marks WW1 Centenary with Dove Tree and Garden of Light

Ribble Valley Mayor Michael Ranson at the Clitheroe Castle war memorial
Ribble Valley Mayor Michael Ranson at the Clitheroe Castle war memorial
Published Thursday, 10 July 2014

A dove tree is to be planted in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle on 4 August marking 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.

The tree will be surrounded by a garden of light comprising hundreds of tea-lights in remembrance of the local young men who lost their lives during the war.

Ribble Valley Mayor Michael Ranson will plant the tree at a site near the castle gates at 6.00pm, before lighting a tea-light in memory of his great-uncle, James Ranson, who died aged 22 at Ypres on 6 October 1915. Jim, as he was known to family and friends, was a medical officer and died from shrapnel wounds sustained at the Battle of Loos while treating other wounded soldiers.

Members of the public will then be invited to light their own tea-light in memory of a specific person, the borough’s fallen, or as a call to peace.

The event marks the start of a commemorative campaign that will see oak trees bearing plaques in memory of Ribble Valley’s fallen planted in the borough’s 35 parishes over the coming months.

The 100th anniversary of Britain’s involvement in the First World War takes place on Monday 4 August, and will herald commemorative events throughout the country.

From 2014 until the 100th anniversary of the official ceasefire, or Armistice Day, on 11 November 2018, communities across the world will come together to remember those who lived, fought and died in the First World War.

Councillor Ranson said: "We are all connected to the First World War, through our family history, the fallen in our local communities, or its long-term impact on society.

“I am inviting residents to join me in this poignant event to remember those who gave their lives so bravely and unite in a gesture for peace.”

The tea-lights will burn for four hours, then Clitheroe Castle will be plunged into darkness at 10.00pm as part of the national LIGHTS OUT campaign.

At 11.00pm on 4 August, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, ushering in one of the darkest periods in history. As the moment approached, the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey made the famous remark: “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

In a dramatic nationwide event, the UK will plunge into darkness between 10 and 11pm marking the hour that Britain entered the war.

LIGHTS OUT, the headline project of 14-18 NOW, the official cultural programme of the WW1 commemorations, will involve public and iconic buildings across the UK, including the Blackpool Illuminations, Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge.

The First World War was a turning point in world history, claiming the lives of 16million people across the world and having a huge impact on those who experienced it. Millions of men fought on land, at sea and in the air, with modern weapons causing mass casualties.

As Ribble Valley did not exist until 1974, precise records of the number of fallen in the borough do not exist, but it is believed to be around 1,000.

Ribble Valley Borough Council will host numerous First World War commemorative events over the coming year, including a civic service at St Mary’s Parish Church, Clitheroe, on Sunday 3 August.



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