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West Lancashire residents gather to remember the start of World War One

People across the borough turned out their lights to leave a single candle burning.

Standard bearers in silent tribute at the War Memorial in Coronation Park

The people of West Lancashire joined the rest of the country in a poignant tribute to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of Britain’s involvement in World War One.

At 11pm on August 4 1914 Britain declared war on Germany, ushering in one of the darkest periods in our history. As the moment approached Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary at the time, made the famous remark: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

Lights out was a UK-wide event that invited everyone to turn off their lights from 10pm to 11pm on August 4, 2014, leaving on a single light or candle for this shared moment of reflection.

About 100 people responded to the council’s invitation to come to the War Memorial in Coronation Park, Ormskirk between 10pm and 11pm to reflect on this solemn anniversary.

They were all given a candle and West Lancashire Mayor Councillor Doreen Stephenson gave a reading to help people gather their thoughts. Air cadets were on watch for the hour, and young saxophonist Ehren Agarwal played music ranging from classical pieces to tunes from the World War One era.

A light was also left shining on the statue of Queen Elizabeth II which stands in the reception area of the council’s Derby Street offices to mark the last hour of peace in 1914.

The remembrance in the park came after a church service at Ormskirk Parish Church. This was organised by the West Lancashire World War 1 Anniversary Association.

Councillor Doreen Stephenson, Mayor of West Lancashire, said: “West Lancashire is proud of its links with the armed forces, and many men from the area lost their lives serving their country in World War One.

“I was honoured to give a reading in the park and pleased that so many people came along.”