Lights Out in Saxon Square, ChristchurchHundreds of people came to Saxon Square in Christchurch to commemorate the start of World War 1 at a Lights Out event on Monday 4 August.

The event was held to complement the candlelit vigil which started at 10pm when the whole country was asked to remember the war by dimming their lights and leaving just one candle lit.

For an hour before the vigil, the commemoration included music from World War 1 played by Christchurch and District Band. The songs were the ones which were sung by soldiers to keep their morale up as they faced the horrors of war.

The words of one of the songs – Keep the Home Fires Burning – rang true as people were invited to join in:

“Let no tears add to their hardships as the soldiers pass along. And although your heart is breaking, make it sing this cheery song.”

The more solemn part of the programme included the reading of the poem ‘Lights Out’ written by Edward Thomas before the Mayor of Christchurch, Cllr Denise Jones, spoke movingly about what had led to the start of the war and how it had affected the small town which Christchurch was in those days.

Prayers from Doug Barnett of Twynham Church and Revd John Turpin from Christchurch Priory preceded the Exhortation by Gerry Nunn, Chairman of Christchurch Royal British Legion and The Last Post played by Nick Jarvis, Director of the Royal British Legion Band.

Following a minute’s silence, Nick Jarvis played Reveille and the lights in Saxon Square dimmed leaving one candle lit in the window of the Mayor’s Parlour overlooking the Square.

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