MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

This week is an extremely poignant one as we reflect on the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

At the outset of the conflict a century ago, Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey famously spoke the immortal line “the lamps are going out all over Europe; we will not see them lit again in our lifetime” before war was declared at 11pm on August 4, 1914

On Monday I will be at the war memorial in Ashton Gardens, where people have been asked to bring a candle or small lamp to light up a vigil from 10pm to 11pm.

The names of the town’s 134 war-dead from the conflict will then be read out before hymns are sung followed by a reading of Sir Edward’s famed lament. Fylde Mayor Councillor Kevin Eastham will then lead the way by extinguishing his candle at 11pm precisely.

The event is part of the national LIGHTS OUT campaign to encourage people to display a single candle or light in a window of public buildings. Fylde Town Hall will turn out the lights and display a small reading lamp in the window of the mayor’s parlour from 10pm, before it is switched off at 11pm. I know there are a number of other services around Fylde – particularly in Warton and Staining – and I am pleased local people appear to have taken this campaign to their heart.

This strikes me as an extremely fitting way of marking such an historic event and I would urge people to attend one of the events around Fylde – or to light a candle or lamp in a window at their home at 10pm and extinguish it at 11pm.

With the turmoil we are currently seeing in different parts of the world it is, perhaps now more than ever, worth remembering the true cost of war which is responsible for some of the world’s darkest hours.

Last weekend I attended two events in Staining and would like to take this opportunity to thank those who invited me and made me feel so welcome during the village’s two biggest days of the year.

On Saturday, Normoss and Staining Gala was extremely enjoyable and well-organised and I was proud to be involved in the event. I am sure the many people who lined the streets, watched the crowning of Gala Queen Emma and her retinue and attended the fairground, enjoyed it immensely.

While Staining Civic Sunday was a more sombre occasion, it provides an equally important chance to celebrate the village’s identity and remember its history and I was delighted I was able to attend.

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