A weekend of remembrance is taking place in Wolverhampton as the city urges people to pay their respects to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The remembrance starts at the Hickman Park and West Park bonfire and fireworks displays on Friday and Saturday 31 October and 1 November respectively, which are set to culminate in a minute's silence and a spectacular poppy display in the night sky.

Then Wolverhampton hosts its annual Festival of Remembrance at the Wulfrun Hall on Sunday 2 November, which organisers say will both remember the past with war veterans honoured and look to the future with young people from the city taking part.

Young and old across the generations are being urged to come along to the event, which is supported by The Royal British Legion, ex services organisations and Help for Heroes.

An afternoon of music and remembrance will see performances from Britain's Got Talent star Jean Martyn, Wolverhampton Youth Wind Orchestra Brass Ensemble, soloists Tony O'Rourke and Abigail Strudwick, members of Wolverhampton Musical Comedy Company and the Compton Hospice Choir.

Audiences will see a ceremonial parade of Standards, the presentation of the Torch of Remembrance and enjoy rousing music from the past 100 years, as well as fall silent at the Last Post and witness a spectacular poppy drop finale.

Councillor Linda Leach, chair of the Wolverhampton Festival of Remembrance working committee, said: "Wolverhampton has, throughout this year, marked the centenary with events and exhibitions, and our Festival of Remembrance is the culmination of all of these.

"I sincerely hope people from across the generations will join us and our veterans from the Second World War at this very special event. As well as the Service of Remembrance we have an incredible programme of rousing music from the last 100 years."

One veteran who hopes to take part is 95 year old Brian Fellows, from Wolverhampton. For Brian the D-Day landings meant he had to leave his new bride and join fellow soldiers in the Royal Artillery as they made their way across Europe a few weeks later.

He said: "I took my tank through France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany. We were either fighting the Germans as we made our way through, or being cheered by people so happy to be liberated.

"We were on our way to Bremen when we got the news that the war was over and Germany had surrendered but it was another 18 months before I got back home to my new bride.

"People often ask me why don't I go back especially as this was the 70th anniversary but I always say I went once and that was enough."

Doors open at 1pm and the Festival of Remembrance begins at 2pm. Tickets are on sale now priced £5 each and are available from the Civic Hall Box Office on 0870 320 7000 or can be purchased on the day, subject to availability.

  • released: Monday 27 October, 2014