Famous names back campaign for Lights Out

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SPORTS stars and broadcasters are preparing to light a candle in a quiet moment of reflection to mark a century since the outbreak of the First World War.

It is hoped a million candles will be lit across the country from 10pm to 11pm on Monday August 4, a century after Britain declared war on Germany.

The campaign is backed by Yorkshire MPs, councillors, authors, historians, academics, current and ex-servicemen and women, the Royal British Legion and Yorkshire Post Newspapers.

Leeds-born broadcaster Jeremy Paxman is also backing the Lights Out event.

Mr Paxman, whose great-uncle Charlie Dickson, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, was killed in Turkey in August 1915, said: “Three quarters of a million men didn’t return from the First World War. The so-called ‘War to End War’ didn’t do so, more’s the pity. That wasn’t their fault. The least we can do is to remember them.”

Model and actress Twiggy has also lent her support, saying: “The sacrifices of those who fought in the First World War will never be forgotten, so I’d like you to join me on August 4 in lighting a candle in their memory and taking part in Lights Out, a national moment of remembrance and reflection.”

British model David Gandy is also urging people across the nation to join in by lighting a candle on August 4.

He said: “I will be supporting Lights Out to remember all those who served, and are currently serving, in our armed forces.

“2014 is a particularly poignant year as it’s 100 years since the start of the First World War.

“I hope that as many people as possible join together throughout the UK and light a candle to remember those who sacrificed their lives, whether a century ago or in most recent years, as well as those who made it home and those still risking their lives for our safety today.”

British gymnast Louis Smith has also pledged his support, saying: “On August 4 I’ll be taking time to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War by lighting a candle in remembrance of the brave men and women who have their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today.”

Across Yorkshire, academics, MPs and councillors as well as past and present members of the armed forces are among those preparing to mark the centenary.

Leeds Council leader Keith Wakefield said: “The legacy of the First World War had a profound effect in so many different ways, and it is only right that here in Leeds we pay our own tributes to the sacrifices of those people who served their country at home and abroad.”

There will be a simple act of reflection and remembrance in Victoria Gardens in Leeds city centre between 10.45 and 11.15pm on Monday August 4 to which everyone is welcome.

The event will involve readings, a short piece of music and a special light installation involving tumbling poppies.

Churches all over Britain are also taking part. Leeds Minster is holding a special vigil of commemoration from 10pm-11pm on August 4.

Debbie Harding, for The Royal British Legion in Yorkshire, said: “These events will give the public an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who fought for the freedom we enjoy today.

“As the nation’s custodians of remembrance, the Legion encourages the people of Yorkshire to join the rest of the nation in turning their lights out and lighting a single candle to remember every serviceman and woman who died during the First World War.”