A series of events and activities will be taking place across Daventry District this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Organisations including Daventry District Council, Daventry Town Council, Futures Housing Group, the Daventry Branch of the Royal British Legion, the Daventry & District Forum and local churches are co-ordinating a wide range of events and activities to help mark the centenary of the historic armistice of 11 November 1918, which ended four years of fighting.

They will take place within the 100 days leading up to November 11, echoing the Hundred Days Offensive – the Allies’ final push along the Western Front which finally broke the military stalemate.

They include:

The Empty Chair Project

Daventry Museum will work on this project with local historian Gerry Thompson, to remember the 114 soldiers from Daventry who lost their lives in the Great War. Local schools and community groups are being invited to make and decorate a small model chair to represent each individual soldier. The chairs will be displayed at the museum from 3 to 11 November before being given to those who wish to remember a soldier by setting an empty seat at their table on Remembrance Sunday on 11 November. Anyone wishing to take part should contact the museum on 01327 301246 or email museum@daventrytowncouncil.gov.uk

World War One Centenary Exhibition 

This commemorative exhibition reflects on the end of World War One and post-war Daventry. The exhibition opens on Saturday 1 September and runs until 14 December.

Memorial Benches

Daventry District Council is inviting town and parish councils as well as community groups to apply for these steel benches, which feature a design incorporating images of soldiers, crosses and poppies. Groups that receive one will only have to pay £300 towards the total, plus any installation costs, with DDC covering the remaining 50%. Interested groups are urged to submit applications at www.daventrydc.gov.uk/firstworldwarcentenary before 31 August.

Churches Together Songs of Praise Service

This event at the Holy Cross Church on 16 September will feature family-favourite hymns and readings, together with popular songs and poetry from WW1. The event will also include a tribute to Ted Sharp from Daventry, a veteran of the D-Day landings who died last year.

Handmade Poppy Project

Daventry Town Council is looking for hundreds of crocheted and knitted poppies, which will be put together to form the silhouette of a First World War Soldier and displayed at the Holy Cross Church in Daventry. Those who are a dab hand with a crochet hook or knitting needle can download a poppy pattern and find out more at www.daventrytowncouncil.gov.uk 

Centenary Tea Dance

The Daventry & District Forum will host this special First World War-themed tea dance at the Saxon Suite on Thursday 20 September.

Armistice Festival

Choirs, dance, music and theatre groups are invited to take part in Be Brave and Come Home Safe, an immersive and interactive performance based on experiences of soldiers from Daventry and Rugby during the First World War. Written by BAFTA-nominated dramatist and librettist Martin Riley and produced by The Wheels on Debussy, the show will combine the talents of professional musician and storyteller Matthew Sharp with actors, singers and dancers from the local community. It will be performed on November 8 in Rugby and November 11 in Daventry. For more information email thewheelsondebussy@hotmail.com or visit www.thewheelsondebussy.com 

Remembrance Day Parade

Daventry Town Council, working in partnership with the Royal British Legion, are co-ordinating the parade on 11 November to pay tribute to the soldiers of the Great War. A total of 114 crosses, representing the soldiers from Daventry who fell, will be placed on Daventry’s War Memorial by children from local schools.

The Big Poppy Plant

First held four years ago to commemorate the centenary of the war’s outbreak, the Big Poppy Plant has again seen communities across the District supplied with a free ‘Remembrance’ poppy seed mix for planting in public areas. The flowers will emerge in the summer through to the autumn, acting as a symbol of remembrance as well as providing havens for insect pollinators.

Creative competition

The Royal British Legion, in partnership with Never Such Innocence, is holding a nationwide competition for 9 to 16 year-olds to say thank you to the First World War generation by creating a song, a poem, or a work of art. The best entries may even feature at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, attended by Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family. Find out more at www.britishlegion.org.uk 

Keep up-to-date and promote your projects

Further information about these events, plus details of other activities taking place to mark the centenary will be published at www.lovedaventry.com/whats-on as they are confirmed. 

If you are planning to organise a local community event for the centenary – or for any other reason for that matter – please let us know by emailing news@daventrydc.gov.uk 

Find out more information at www.daventrydc.gov.uk/firstworldwarcentenary 

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