Uniting to mark the Great War

First World War Peace Day Celebration, Unveiling the war memorial.

First World War Peace Day Celebration, Unveiling the war memorial.

People across the Wetherby News area are marking 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.

Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914.

This week, we take a look at the commemorative events taking place across the district.

And Wetherby Methodist is taking the lead in the market town with a weekend of commemoration which sees numerous organisations join forces.

The town’s historical trust led an appeal for old photographs and documents to display in an exhibition at the church on Saturday, August 2 from 10am-12.30pm.

Featured will be documents, photographs, objects, children’s work and an audiovisual presentation.

Noel Whittall has been restoring and riding vintage motorcycles for many years and will attend the exhibition on his vintage motorcycle, wearing a replica dispatch riders uniform to represent the many men and women who volunteered for this position.

The Women’s Institute will be running a NAAFI canteen coffee morning in the Town Hall.

The following day there will be a dedication of the new Peace Garden on Caxton Street at 3pm, followed by a commemorative service at the Methodist Church at 3.30pm and another chance to see the exhibition.

Edna Hilditch secretary of the Wetherby Branch of the Royal British Legion said: “We are having a plaque placed in the garden which reads we remember all those who served in the Armed Forces who have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of peace, lest we forget.”

Boston Spa and Thorp Arch join together to put on a display of over 100 exhibits of Great War memorabilia in Boston Spa Village Hll on August 3 from 10am-4.30pm.

Included in the exhibition, most of which is donated from the community, is a cross which is kept in St Mary’s church made by Charles Johnson from the wood of Ypres cathedral which was destroyed during the war.

“He was a member of the Royal Field Artillery, Special Brigade and also a member of the Church of England Men’s Society,” said organiser Steve Morritt.

There will also be a short history of some of the men whose names appear on the war memorials of the two villages.

Lucy Moore of Leeds Museums and Galleries will give a presentation on The Leeds Pals and Richard Wilcocks, author of The War Hospital - the lives and loves of men and women at war.

Musical entertainment of the period will be provided by Cosmopolitan Players with excerpts from Oh What a Lovely War, and Tadcaster Chorale, Wetherby Musical Society, pianist John Townend and pupils of Opera North founder member Sue Lees.

The event will be officially opened at 11am by the HM Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire.

And just down the road at the British Library’s Boston Spa site on August 2 will be a World War I Family History Roadshow where it is hoped some interesting stories will emerge.

“The roadshow, one of a series that have been taking place all over Europe, is designed to encourage people to discover and share WW1 family memories, photos, stories and objects that will then be digitised and become part of an important online European archive of family memorabilia from the War,” said a Library spokesman.

Spofforth will mark the anniversary with a weekend-long exhibition - Lest Spofforth Forgets - in the Long Memorial Hall.

Local historian Margaret Power has unearthed photographs and history never put together before on those who gave their lives or returned and how the war affected Spofforth.

The exhibition is open on Saturday from 2-5pm and Sunday noon-4pm.

Admission is free and refreshments are available.

Barwick and Scholes branch of the Royal British Legion has organised commemorations for Sunday, starting with a parade from Barwick village hall at 12.45pm.

This will be followed by the re-dedication of the village’s war memorial and service at All Saints Church.

Later the same day a service at St Philip’s Church, Scholes at 2.45pm will be followed by re-dedication of the village war memorial and a parade led by Legion standard bearers.

The final event of the day will be a barbeque at The Buffers in Scholes, to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal.




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