A series of banners to commemorate the centenary of World War I will soon be fluttering above the streets of Andover town centre. The designs have been chosen to reflect themes of remembrance, and to highlight local military units who currently hold the Freedom of Andover.
Simultaneously many of the 10 million seeds planted by the borough council have resulted in large swathes of poppies in bloom around the town, reflecting the universal symbol of remembrance.
More poppies will abound in two wonderful hangings displayed in The Lights Theatre, Andover, and Romsey Abbey. The hangings are the result of collaborative working across the regions schools.
Test Valley Borough Council worked in partnership with Hampshire County Council to run a series of workshops for teachers, exploring different ways of making commemorative poppies. These skills were taken back into local schools to encourage the children to make a variety of poppies which have been strung together by staff and pupils at Lakeside School, Chandlers Ford. The hangings will be on public display until September.
On 4 August Test Valley Borough Council buildings will be participating in the national LIGHTS OUT moment at 10 pm. “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, 1914.
The Guildhall, Beech Hurst, The Lights Theatre and Andover Leisure Centre will all be in darkness except for a single point of light acting as a beacon of shared reflection.
LIGHTS OUT will be one of the largest participatory events of its kind ever seen in the UK, and will complement the candlelit vigil held at Westminster Abbey on 4 August.
Councillor Ian Carr, Leader of the Council, said: “It is important that we remember that this is a national opportunity for sombre reflection and remembrance. Each commemoration in Test Valley is intended to act as a catalyst, encouraging people to take a moment to reflect and to respect the bravery and sacrifice of those who were involved in the First World War.”
The first of two Test Valley Victoria Cross recipients will also be remembered in a special ceremony in Lockerley on 26 August. A plaque is being laid to commemorate the bravery of former resident Fred Luke, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in recognition of his bravery in the field.