County gets call to centenary project

Northumberland has been selected to take part in a Government backed music event to commemorate the First World War Centenary.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles selected the county – Cramlington and Ellington specifically – to take part in The Last Post project that will run from 2014 to 2018.

Developed by arts organisation Superact and part funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government, The Last Post will launch pilot sessions in Cramlington and Ellington and five other UK communities in February 2014, growing to 300 events by November.

For a fortnight either side of Remembrance Sunday, participating communities across the country will research their own local First World War heritage and hold musical recitals in schools, libraries, places of worship and community centres, where they will share stories and local memories.

To honour and remember the lives of those who served in and were affected by the war, this musical tribute will see volunteers play the traditional bugle and trumpet call of The Last Post.

Supported by Northumberland Arts Development and Northumberland Libraries Service in Cramlington Library on Tuesday, February 25, from 10am to 11.30am, artist and writer Stevie Ronnie, who also spent part of his childhood in Ellington, will work with local historical groups, community groups and schools to explore stories in remembrance to World War One.

People are invited to bring in photos, objects and stories to discuss, explore and share together in a creative archive project.

Cramlington Choir, lead by Jane Harland, and 20,000 voices will also be practising to perform The Last Post and other War and peace time songs.

Choir sessions will run on February 5,12 and 26, at Doxford Place, Methodist Church, Cramlington.

And on Saturday, March 1, from 10am to 11.30am at Cramlington Library, the public is welcome to explore what has been researched and enjoy the performance by Cramlington Community Choir.

To book a place at one of the sessions call (01670) 620232 or email for more details.

Virginia Crompton, Superact’s executive producer of The Last Post project, said: “The project is an invitation to find out more about our heritage, and a simple but creative way to get involved and take part in the First World War Centenary.

“This very special music brings us all together to share our stories. It will be very exciting to hear The Last Post played across the country be it via the traditional bugle call or on a range of new instruments.”

Eric Pickles added: “Each evening crowds gather under the Menin Gate to hear the final salute to the fallen, played by the buglers of the Last Post Association.

“The poignancy of the Last Post is something that everyone in Britain recognises as a way of remembering those who lost their lives in war in service to this country fighting for liberty.

“This is a fitting time to bring that music back home, closer to the heart of communities and use it to remember the remarkable role so many local people played in the First World War.”