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National Event in Manchester for the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme

Manchester,to be held on July 1st, 2016 (posted on April 20th)
Report provided by Sean Morris, UK & Ireland Mayors for Peace Chapter Secretary

Manchester will be hosting UK national events commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme on the 1st July. The Battle of the Somme in France was one of the most destructive battles of the First World War, and of any war in human history, with over a million casualties on both sides. It affected the lives of millions more back in the UK, many Commonwealth countries, France and Germany. The first day of the battle was particularly bloody with over 57,000 killed on this day alone. Many of these soldiers came from Manchester and towns around the north west of England (often known as the 'Pals' Regiments made up of friends and colleagues from industrial towns), which is why it has been chosen to host national commemorations on the battle’s centenary.

Events taking place include a parade through the city centre, a remembrance service being held at Manchester Cathedral and an evening concert at Heaton Park, which had been used as a training ground in 1916. This free concert will include a children's choir, film, dance and music from the Halle Orchestra. A specially commissioned poem on themes of war, peace and remembrance will be read out by the poet and Chancellor of Manchester University, Lemn Sissay.

A project is also underway to create a 'Path of the Remembered'. The path will be made up of thousands of tiles, each one decorated by a member of the public on the issues of personal loss, remembrance and reflections on war and peace. These will be brought together to form both an on-line 'digital' path, and a real path which will be laid at Heaton Park as part of the commemorative concert taking place that evening.

These solemn events are a key part of the centenary commemorations of the First World War in the UK. Manchester fully supports the Mayors for Peace 'Cities are not Targets!'(CANT) campaign which reminds us of the terrible toll of warfare on civilian populations.

>Further information and to apply for tickets for the concert

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