Orkney Islands Council
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Armistice programme for Orkney announced

Armistice programme for Orkney announced
15 October 2018

A programme of events in Orkney to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War has been announced.

This year’s Remembrance Sunday - November 11 - marks the centenary of the armistice that brought to an end to the hostilities of the Great War.

One hundred years ago, the news was met in Orkney - like numerous towns and cities across the UK - with much fanfare, even while the full scale of devastation and lives lost began to sink in.

Orkney Islands Council is working with partners and organisations to produce a programme of events throughout Remembrance Sunday, to enable Orkney to come together again - this time to mark the centenary of the armistice, and to remember all those lives lost in the Great War and later conflicts.

At 06.00 on Remembrance Sunday, a lone piper at St Magnus Cathedral will join 1,000 individual pipers from across the United Kingdom and the world as they bring in the day’s commemorations with the traditional Scottish lament ‘Battle’s O’er’, played at the end of battle.

At 10:30 the traditional Remembrance Sunday parade will commence. Veterans, Army and Sea Cadets and other groups will muster at the Royal British Legion, setting off shortly afterwards to form up on Broad Street.

A short Service led by the Salvation Army Captain will lead to a two minutes silence at 11.00 before a special Armistice Service takes place in the Cathedral.

In the afternoon, volunteers will begin to create a large-scale portrait in the sand at Scapa Beach of an Orcadian soldier killed during WWI as part of Danny Boyle’s 14-18 NOW commission, ‘Pages of the Sea’. The artwork - one of 30 in the UK and only 6 across Scotland - will signify both the departure of the soldier from the county to serve at war, and – as the tide washes their image away – the loss of their life and those of many others. More details about this event will be unveiled in coming weeks.

At 15:00 Orkney’s young people join forces with Orkney Rocks! Choir and others to remember those lost, and the impact the war had on those left behind, in a special concert at the Orkney Arts Theatre. Admission will be free and there will be an opportunity to make a contribution to the charity, Help for Heroes. Tickets for the concert will be released on Monday 29 October and will be available at the Council’s Customer Services points in School Place, Kirkwall and Warehouse Buildings, Stromness.

At 18:55, a lone bugler at the St Magnus Cathedral will join 1,000 individual buglers from across the UK and oversees territories in sounding the historic ‘Last Post’.

This will be followed by the lighting of a beacon on the St Magnus Cathedral kirk green at 19:00 as part of the national ‘Beacons of Light’ event which will see beacons lit across the country, symbolising an end to the darkness of war and return to the light of peace.

St Magnus Cathedral will remain the focus as, at 19:05, the bells will ring alongside 1,000 others across the nation and beyond.

Between 17:00-20:00 the short film specially commissioned by the Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative for the centenary of the armistice will be projected on to the Cathedral – for the last time.

Convener of Orkney Islands Council, Harvey Johnston, said: “We are grateful to everyone who has worked with us so far to ensure we have a fitting programme of events here in Orkney for people to mark this momentous occasion and pay their respects to forbears who suffered so much. I hope people will involve and immerse themselves in these events as much as they can.”