Lights switched off in Midhurst and Petworth area to mark start of first world war

PEOPLE throughout the Midhurst and Petworth area will be joining communities across the country on Monday, August 4 when they switch off their lights to commemorate the start of the first world war.

The event, organised by the department of culture, will also coincide with a candlelit vigil at Westminster Abbey.

At 11pm on August 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, ushering in one of the darkest periods in the nation’s history.

The ‘Lights Out’ tribute is based on British foreign secretary at the time, 
Sir Edward Grey’s famous remark as the moment approached: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

Lights Out will take place for one hour from 10pm and people are being asked to place a candle in the window.

There is to be a short service in Easebourne to remember all those from the surrounding communities who gave their lives during what was one of the costliest conflicts in history. This memorial service will be held at Easebourne Parish Church on August 4, beginning at 10pm, and will enable the community to join in the nationwide remembrance at the same time.

A number of commemorative events are planned in Billingshurst, including an invitation 
to villagers to turn off their lights from 10pm-11pm, leaving on a single light or 
candle to mark when Britain entered the war.

The Royal British Legion has a vision to have candles lit at every war memorial, community centre and home across Great Britain, so that more than one million 
candles will be lit to commemorate the lives of so many fallen in what has been described as ‘the ‘war of all wars’.

The Billingshurst branch of the Royal British Legion will be at the war memorial, outside St Mary’s Church and will light its candle.

All are welcome to attend and further details are available from Colin Banks, president and chairman of the Royal British Legion Billingshurst branch, on 
01403 784363.

The lights will also be out at Chichester District Council’s headquarters.

“We must never forget what happened and how this event changed the world forever,” said Cllr Heather Caird, leader of Chichester District Council.

“We want to show our support for the event, which is encouraging people to have a shared moment of reflection.”