Sunderland remembers the outbreak of World War One

Rev Andrew Dowsett alongside the WW1 exhibition panel in Sunderland Minster.
Rev Andrew Dowsett alongside the WW1 exhibition panel in Sunderland Minster.
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THE centenary of the First World War will be marked across Wearside with a host of events.

Monday marks the 100th anniversary since the outbreak of The Great War. A service will be held at Sunderland Minster at 10am to remember those who fell in the conflict.

Council leader Paul Watson said: “The First World War shaped the 20th century and its legacy is still with us today. Therefore it is only right that we remember and reflect on these years of conflict and the sacrifices that so many made.”

The service will be followed by a commemorative address by Sunderland Mayor Councillor Stuart Porthouse and the release of homing pigeons, significant because of their use as messenger birds during the war. The church is also exhibiting war memorials and a touring display. Councillor John Kelly, cabinet member for public health, wellness and culture, added: “The impact of the First World War was felt everywhere. Thousands of men from Sunderland and its surrounding areas served in the Armed Forces, thousands of them were casualties and we can see their names on the dozens of war memorials in our city. On the Home Front, Sunderland was attacked by a zeppelin, our industries contributed as they dug coal or made ships, and women went to work in jobs that had previously only been done by men.”

Minster priest Andrew Dowsett said: “This is an opportunity to remember those who lived through the war in Sunderland, the men who worked in the shipyards and pits, the women who served in many pioneering roles, and the children whose lives were also changed by the war.”

Coun Porthouse said: “This service is about remembering and reflecting on how this conflict changed and shaped the world.”

The Minster is hosting a candlelit vigil and evening of prayer and reflection at 10pm. It will include the gradual extinguishing of candles, with the final light being extinguished at 11pm – the exact time Britain joined the First World War.

Hetton Fellowship of Churches will also hold a commemoration service, on Monday at 10am, followed by the opening of Easington Lane Community Access Point’s memorial garden and exhibition.