First World War centenary project launches
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The ‘South Gloucestershire and the First World War’ project launched on Wednesday 23 July, thanks to a grant of £60,000 under the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) First World War: then and now programme.
The First World War Centenary project will see South Gloucestershire Council working with local community heritage organisations to improve public engagement with the anniversary. We are coordinating a range of activities to help communities access and interpret the First World War resources held by these local organisations. There will also be a website to signpost exhibitions and events.
To mark the declaration of war in 1914, the project has created a travelling exhibition which shows the impact of the war in this area and also how communities were changed in other countries with which South Gloucestershire is now twinned. It reveals that people in South Gloucestershire fought as soldiers, became nurses and worked in factories, and that local businesses made aircraft, motorbikes and boots which were used in the First World War.
The exhibition was launched on Wednesday 23 July at the Tesco supermarket in Yate. Chairman of South Gloucestershire Council Cllr Howard Gawler presented the opening address, Deputy Store Manager Steve Baker spoke on Tesco’s behalf and Vice Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire Robert Bernays OBE also attended and gave a speech. The exhibition will tour public venues in South Gloucestershire to engage directly with local communities.
Cllr Gawler said: “We are grateful for the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to fund the development of this essential project which will provide a central base for the many centenary projects which are happening throughout South Gloucestershire. By working with the many heritage organisations in the area, this project will ensure that the centenary is commemorated locally and show the effect of the First World War on individuals and communities in South Gloucestershire.”
Nerys Watts, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £57 million in projects – large and small – that are marking this global Centenary; with our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in ‘South Gloucestershire and the First World War’ to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local people broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”
Tesco’s Regional Corporate Affairs Manager Jack Pearson said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the exhibition and to be supporting the centenary project. We know how important it is and hope that customers will find it interesting and insightful. We hope that by hosting the exhibition as many people as possible will be able to see it.”
The official opening also featured poetry readings which included recitals of ‘Aftermath’ by Siegfried Sassoon and the ‘Hawkesbury Hospital’ by Sergeant E Rex, along with a performance of period songs by local singer Rachael Hunt.
The exhibition will remain at the Tesco supermarket in Yate for four weeks before moving on to the Tesco store in Bradley Stoke for a further four weeks, after which it is available for other venues in the area.
For more information visit www.southglos.gov.uk/ww1
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