School Visits to Somme to Mark Centenary of First World War

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Byline: Louise Jury Chief Arts Correspondent

THE Government today announced plans for remembering the First World War with a [pounds sterling]10 million programme of cultural events and an act of reconciliation on the battlefield.

The commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war will begin on August 4 next year with a candlelit vigil in Westminster Abbey, a service for Commonwealth leaders in Glasgow Cathedral and a ceremony at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium.

They will reflect all four years of the conflict with plans to mark key dates such as the Gallipoli landings in the Dardanelles, the naval Battle of Jutland, the first day of the 1916 Battle of the Somme and Armistice Day.

Jenny Waldman, who produced the London Games 2012 Festival, will run a nationwide cultural programme with an advisory board including Vikki Heywood, formerly of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Tony Hall, the BBC's director general.

Lottery money of [pounds sterling]10 million will be matched from other sources with events focused on three main periods: August 2014, July 2016 and autumn 2018. This is on top of [pounds sterling]50 million for other projects including refurbishing the Imperial War Museum. The English National Ballet has also commissioned new work from leading choreographers to mark the centenary. …

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