Lights out as Wigan remembers

DARKNESS descended on Wigan for a poignant ceremony to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

Residents stood in silence to remember those who lost their lives in the conflict outside Wigan Parish Church as well as at war memorials across the borough and in their own homes.

Wigan Parish Church - A Solemn Commemoration on the Centenary of the First World War

Wigan Parish Church - A Solemn Commemoration on the Centenary of the First World War

Wiganers joined people all over Britain for the Lights Out event on Monday, which took its cue from the famous words spoken in 1914 by foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

At Wigan Parish Church the Rector of Wigan Rev Ray Hutchinson led a memorial service before a torch-lit procession brought participants back outside the historic place of worship for the Lights Out ceremony.

An image of poppies was projected onto the wall of the historic building.

The illuminations were then slowly put out one by one until the Mayor of Wigan, Coun Phyll Cullen, extinguished the final flame on the stroke of 11pm.

Many residents and families across the borough also joined in the moving commemoration at home, with lights going out in houses all over Wigan and a single candle being left burning to remember the outbreak of war.

Wigan Council leader Lord Peter Smith said: “The events last night to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War were sombre and moving.

“I was at the service in Leigh and pleased to see so many people gathered to remember and reflect.

“We have a duty to honour the war dead, and all those affected by the conflict, and show our gratitude for their sacrifice.

“Remembering this should make us all search for peace across the world.

“The vigils were the first of a number of different events and activities the council is supporting to commemorate World War One.”