A number of poignant anniversaries feature heavily this week. Chris Bond looks at some of the people and stories likely to be in the news over the next seven days.
TOUR DE YORKSHIRE ROUTE
THE inaugural Tour de Yorkshire cycle race was a huge success generating £50m for the region’s economy when it was held earlier this year. The full route for next year’s race is being announced in Otley by Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, and Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme. London 2012 hero Sir Bradley Wiggins has already confirmed he will be competing in the Tour de Yorkshire 2016.
THE SHEFFIELD BLITZ
WE may have won the Battle of Britain but during the autumn of 1940 the Luftwaffe started bombing our big cities. First London was hit and then Coventry and Birmingham were targeted. In December it was Sheffield’s turn. Bombing raids on the city that month left 668 civilians and 25 servicemen dead. To mark the 75th anniversary of the Sheffield Blitz, barrage balloons will be launched in the city centre on Saturday night, air raid sirens will sound and a ring of spotlights will be beamed into the sky.
CONSTABLE UP FOR SALE
JOHN Constable is among Britain’s greatest artists and one of his landscapes, which until recently hadn’t been seen for 160 years, is expected to fetch £12m when it goes under the hammer. Constable painted The Lock back in the 1820s and loved it so much he held onto it until he died in 1837. It was sold to a private collector in 1855 where it remained until now. It is one of just three major Constables still in private hands is likely to become one of the most valuable British paintings in history when it is sold by Sotheby’s.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
ON Tuesday it will be a century since In Flanders Fields was first published in the magazine Punch. The poem was written by physician John McCrae, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Canadian army, following the death of a friend who was killed in the Second Battle of Ypres. McCrae, initially dissatisfied with his work, threw the poem away only for it to be retrieved by a fellow soldier. It’s lucky it was, because In Flanders Fields is now one of the best known and most frequently quoted of all the war poems. It quickly became popular and was used in propaganda efforts and appeals to recruit soldiers. Perhaps most significantly, its references to poppies that grew on the graves of fallen soldiers led to the poppy becoming one of the world’s most recognised memorial symbols for all those who have died in conflict.
QUESTIONS FOR TONY BLAIR
FORMER prime minister Tony Blair is due to appear before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee to answer questions about the UK’s foreign policy towards Libya. He will give evidence to the parliamentary committee as part of its inquiry into the UK’s intervention in the 2011 crisis and future policy options.
CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
The recent flooding that has hit large swathes of Scotland and Cumbria, in particular, is a reminder of the challenges we face from our increasingly volatile climate. So all eyes will be on Paris as politicians gather for the climate summit in a bid to reach an agreement over long-term CO2 emissions reductions.
JOHN LENNON ANNIVERSARY
ON December 8, 1980, the former Beatle was gunned down outside his New York apartment, his death sending shockwaves around the world. The Beatles changed the face of popular culture during the 1960s and Lennon himself went on to become a charismatic symbol of the peace movement, which made his murder all the more shocking. Thirty-five years on and it still feels such a tragic and senseless loss.