British Government announces four year First World War Centenary programme

Posted on on 10 June 2013
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The British Government has announced its plans to mark the Centenary of the First World War.

The press was invited to attend an event in London where the Culture Secretary Maria Miller, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Andrew Murrison, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for the Centenary, announced the Government's official Centenary programme.

The opening day of the Centenary - the 100 year anniversary of Britain's declaration of war on Germany - the 4th August 2014, will focus on three events:

A wreath laying service at Glasgow’s Cenotaph, following a special service for Commonwealth leaders at Glasgow Cathedral.

An event at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium – which has an equal number of British and German soldiers, and is where the first and last Commonwealth casualties of the war are believed to be buried.

A "candle-lit vigil of prayer and penitence" at Westminster Abbey finishing at 11pm – the moment Britain declared war on Germany

What was described as the "centerpiece" of the commemorations will be the re-opening of the Imperial War Museum in London after a £35 million refurbishment. The Imperial War Museum was opened in 1917.

Maria Miller MP stated that: "On 4 August 1914 we entered the war – a war like no other the world had seen".

"It is right we remember and mark the centenary of this momentous day in the world’s history, bringing its importance alive for younger generations and remembering the price that was paid by all involved".

Other announcements for the four year Centenary period include:

There will be "national acts of remembrance" to mark the 100 year anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 2016, and Armistice Day in 2018.

Funding of £5.3m from the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government, will allow two "student ambassadors", and a teacher, from "each maintained school in England to visit First World War battlefields and undertake research on people local to their school who fought in the war".

At least £15 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund will be available "to enable young people working in their communities to conserve, explore and share local heritage of the First World War".

A grant of £1 million to secure the future of the last surviving warship from the First World War fleet, HMS Caroline.

Cultural Programme

A further £10 million was also committed for a Centenary "cultural programme".

Jenny Waldman, the Creative Producer for the London 2012 Olympic Games, has been appointed director of this programme and "will work with cultural organisations and partners across Britain to deliver it".

Ms. Waldman "will report to a Centenary Cultural Programme Board, chaired by Vikki Heywood CBE, Chairman of the RSA and former Executive Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and including Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC".

An "expert advisory panel", chaired by Maria Miller MP will oversee "the nationwide programme of events and educational initiatives".

Members of the panel include:

Former Chiefs of Defence Staff Admiral Lord Boyce, General Lord Dannatt, Field Marshal Lord Guthrie and Air Chief Marshall ‘Jock’ Stirrup.

Novelists Pat Barker and Sebastian Faulk.

Dr Andrew Murrison MP, the Prime Minister’s special representative for the Centenary.

Centenary News is at the press conference and will be recording the announcements made by the secretaries of state.

Date of press release publication: 10/06/2013

Images courtesy of the Inside Government UK website

Source: Inside Government UK website

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News