WIGAN will be plunged into darkness tonight in a moving ceremony to commemorate the outbreak of World War One 100 years ago.
Candle-lit vigils will be held in Wigan and Leigh war memorials and residents are also being asked to join in by turning off their lights for an hour between 10pm and 11pm.
At Wigan Parish Church the Rector of Wigan Rev Ray Hutchinson will lead a service of memorial from 9.30pm until 10.30pm, when there will be a torch-lit procession through the town centre.
The lights will then begin to go out one by one before the Mayor of Wigan Coun Phyll Cullen extinguishes the final torch at 11pm, when there will be a minute’s silence.
The tribute commemorates the words of Sir Edward Grey who was Foreign Secretary when war broke out in 1914 and commented: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
Wigan Council leader Lord Peter Smith said: “These will be moments of poignancy and reflection as we mark the start of that terrible conflict and remember the impact it had and the sacrifice of so many people.
“We’ve planned a host of events this year and for the next four years to remember the war and this will be a truly moving start.
“I would encourage people to attend the church services in Leigh or Wigan and the candle-lit vigils at the cenotaphs in the towns. They will be solemn occasions to commemorate a dark moment in history.”