Churches lead the way as nation honours Great War dead

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PRAYERS, poems and a special commemorative £20 coin will honour the bravery of those who answered the call to fight for King and country a century ago.

Events are taking place at war memorials, churches and village halls this weekend and on Monday, the 100th anniversary of the war’s outbreak, when candles will be lit and lights turned off for a nationwide commemoration called Lights Out.

Leeds Minster is hosting a candlelit vigil service of readings, prayers and poems from 10pm on Monday and members of the public are invited to attend an act of remembrance at Victoria Gardens in Leeds city centre from 10.45pm to 11.15pm on Monday. At York Minster there will be hymns and readings from 8pm on Monday and a vigil of prayer from 9pm-11pm.

Canon Pastor Michael Smith said: “York Minster’s service is part of a national commemoration marking a significant date in the history of our country and the world. The effects of that war can still be felt today – the roots of so many modern conflicts can be found in the First World War.”

At Scalby, near Scarborough, a vigil service will be held tomorrow from 6.30pm and on Monday there will be an event at Ripon racecourse at 1.30pm with D-Day veteran Jock Hutton, 89, as a guest of honour.

An open-air service is taking place at Adel war memorial at 3pm tomorrow and on Monday there is a candlelit vigil at the memorial hall from 7.30pm.

In Swillington, the Royal British Legion will lead a procession to a memorial in the church graveyard tomorrow at 11.30am.

St Matthew’s Church at Chapel Allerton has created a poets’ corner with war poems and readings and visitors can light a candle in a quiet chapel on Monday.

In Yeadon, St John’s Church will open from 11am on Monday and there will be a short vigil service at 7.30pm.

A weekend of commemorations has been planned by the Headingley Team Ministry, including a vigil service at 6.30pm.

In Morley, a platoon of ‘troops’ in First World War uniform will lead a parade from the Town Hall at 10.30am tomorrow to the memorial in Scatcherd Park. The Salvation Army Band will play songs from the era.

Commemorations in Barwick-in-Elmet include the unveiling of a new memorial bench and churches in Barwick and Scholes are holding Lights Out events on Monday evening.

St James the Great in Pudsey will be holding a ‘vigil for peace’ tomorrow at 6pm.

Tomorrow will also see the dedication ceremony for two avenues of trees planted in remembrance of the fallen of Calverley, Farsley and Rodley.

Two stone memorials will also be dedicated.

A service will take place at 2.30pm tomorrow at the bottom of Brookfield Avenue, Rodley.

Local councillor Andrew Carter said: “Sunday will be a truly memorable event and we hope a considerable number of people will be present.”

A spokeswoman for Lights Out said: “The campaign is gathering momentum and we now have 700 events registered.”

Organisers hope a million candles will be lit across Britain. A £20 silver coin to commemorate the outbreak of the war has been produced by the Royal Mint.

See Monday’s Yorkshire Post for personal Great War stories of sacrifice and heartbreak from Yorkshire families.