Residents invited to join in moving event to honour local men who died in WWI

Coun. Michael Ranson, Mayor of Ribble Valley, will honour the fallen of WWI at the war memorial at Clitheroe Castle
Coun. Michael Ranson, Mayor of Ribble Valley, will honour the fallen of WWI at the war memorial at Clitheroe Castle

A dove tree is to be planted in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle on August 4th, marking 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.

The tree will be surrounded by a garden of light, comprising hundreds of tea-lights, in 
remembrance of the local young men who lost their lives during the war.

The Mayor of the Ribble Valley, Coun. Michael Ranson, will plant the tree at a site near the Castle gates at 6 pm before lighting a tea-light in memory of his great-uncle, James Ranson, who died aged 22 at Ypres on October 6th, 1915.

“Jim”, as he was known to family and friends, was a medical officer and died from shrapnel wounds sustained at the Battle of Loos while treating other wounded soldiers.

Members of the public will then be invited to light their own tea-light in memory of a specific person, the borough’s fallen or as a call to peace.

The event marks the start of a commemorative campaign that will see oak trees bearing plaques in memory of Ribble Valley’s fallen planted
in the borough’s 35 parishes over the coming months.

The 100th anniversary of Britain’s involvement in the First World War takes place on Monday, August 4th, and will herald commemorative events throughout the country.

From 2014 until the 100th anniversary of the official ceasefire, or Armistice Day, on November 11th, 2018, communities across the world will come together to remember those who lived, fought and died in the First World War.

The Mayor said: “We are all connected to the First World War, through our family history, the fallen in our local communities or its long-term impact on society.

“I am inviting residents to join me in this poignant event to remember those who gave their lives so bravely and unite in a gesture for peace.”

The tea-lights will burn for four hours, then Clitheroe Castle will be plunged into darkness at 10 pm as part of the national “Lights Out” campaign.

At 11 pm on August 4th, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, ushering in one of the darkest periods in history.

As the moment approached, the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey made the famous remark: “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

In a dramatic nationwide event, the UK will plunge 
into darkness between 10 and 11 pm marking the hour that Britain entered the war. The “Lights Out” project will involve public and iconic buildings across the UK, including the Blackpool Illuminations, Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge.

The First World War was a turning point in world history, claiming the lives of 16 million people across the world and having a huge impact on those who experienced it. Millions of men fought on land, at sea and in the air, with modern weapons causing mass casualties.

As Ribble Valley did not exist until 1974, precise records of the number of fallen in the borough do not exist, but it is believed to be around 1,000.

The borough council will host numerous First World War commemorative events over the coming year, including a civic service at St Mary’s Parish Church, Clitheroe, on Sunday, August 3rd.

• Further details of this and all events are available at