Killyleagh World War One beacons hope

Killyleagh World War One beacons hope

29 November 2017

KILLYLEAGH is planning to take part in the chain of World War One Beacons of Light to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War next year.

The town has applied to be a venue for one of the 1,000 beacons which will be lit throughout the UK on the 11 November 2018 – a century after the guns fell silent.

The beacons will be lit at 7pm in commemoration and remembrance of the end of the Great War, and the many millions who were killed or came home wounded.

The Killyleagh Remembers the Great War project has revealed it is involved in preliminary talks to make this happen in Killyleagh. 

“A public meeting will be held in the town early in the New Year,’’ said spokesman Chris Hagan.

“There is a format for the night which includes lighting a beacon, sounding church bells and pipers and we are looking for ideas and people to take part in a wide range of cross-community events. 

“We have to source a suitable beacon but we are asking – can you help? Do you know anyone who can help make this happen?”

He added: “It is appropriate that Killyleagh should come together again as we had such a successful 100th anniversary cross-community commemoration in August 2014 to mark the start of the war.”

The Killyleagh commemoration, in which a replica battlefield cross was laid, a town candle lit by Lt Col Denys Rowan-Hamilton and almost 200 memorial crosses of honour inscribed, was later singled out by the London-based organisers of the Lights Out event.

It listed Killyleagh as one of the outstanding highlights, alongside commemorations at Downing Street, Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus. 

It was the sole Northern Ireland listing, in the top 10 highlights singled out by Jenny Waldman, the UK director of 14-18 Now, the official cultural programme for the First World War Centenary Commemorations. 

The cross-community event in Killyleagh drew an estimated crowd of 700 which watched as Second World War veteran Martin `Tina’ Charters laid a replica battlefield cross, crafted from Irish Oak by master carpenter John Scott.