The public are invited to participate in a National Commemoration of the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme in Manchester on Friday 1 July, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale announced today.
He also announced the release of tickets for a free public commemorative concert at Heaton Park to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Tickets can be booked here.
Manchester will host a parade of military and home front organisations, a Somme Remembrance service at Manchester Cathedral, and a heritage experience and evening concert at Heaton Park.
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said:
The Battle of the Somme resulted in one million casualties on the Western Front and touched the lives of millions of families at home. It is important that we provide as many ways as we can for the public to commemorate the bravery and sacrifices of our ancestors 100 years ago.
We must never forget what happened at the Somme. I hope that people across the country take part in the range of events in Manchester to honour the memories of those who gave so much.
The public are invited to participate and attend the following in Manchester:
A Somme 100 parade of military and home front organisations will march through the centre of the city after lunch
A Somme Remembrance service will be held at Manchester Cathedral at 3pm and will be shown live on big screens in the public areas nearby
A free concert at Heaton Park at 7.30pm featuring a national children’s choir, film, dance and Manchester’s acclaimed Hallé Orchestra
Heaton Park is one of the largest municipal parks in Europe and in 1916 was a military training ground for many recruits before they went to the Somme. The evening event will also feature a range of letters, poems and diary entries depicting the lives of those affected by the Somme - including a specially commissioned poem read by author and broadcaster Lemm Sissay.
The public is invited to sign up for free tickets to the evening concert, which is suitable for all age groups.
There will also be an Experience Field at Heaton Park for those interested in learning more about life in 1916. Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, announced today more than 30 original bell tents will house First World War experts, activities and artefacts bringing to life hundreds of stories of nurses, soldiers and factory workers from the Home and Western Fronts.
Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader Manchester City Council, said:
Manchester is honoured to be hosting this important commemoration event on behalf of the nation. Like the rest of the country we fully acknowledge the debt we owe to those who fought for us at the Somme and are humbled still by their actions.
Northern England was the heartland of the Pals’ battalions throughout the First World War and was also at the centre of the huge industrial effort for the Somme. It’s therefore fitting that the focal point of remembrance and opportunities for people to learn about and reflect further on the enormity of the events at the Somme should be
in our city.
We’re ready to welcome people from around the country to Manchester and want to give as many people as possible - young and old - the opportunity to observe, think, reflect, and participate in the commemorative events planned to mark this hugely important centenary.