Thousands of people are set to attend First World War commemoration events which are being staged across Birmingham and the Black Country over the weekend.
A programme of free events to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War will take place between Saturday and Monday across Birmingham and the Black Country.
Brazilian artist Néle Azevedo will be in Chamberlain Square on Saturday from 1pm where he will be creating a mesmerising display of over 5,000 figures made out of ice to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.
The piece of art work is called the Minimum Monument and honours not only those who fought in World War One but all those who contributed, including families who made a sacrifice.
This is being presented by Birmingham Hippodrome With support from Arts Council England and the William A Cadbury Charitable Trust.
The Music, Poetry and Remembrance Commemorating the First World War takes place on Sunday between 12pm and 6pm in both Victoria and Chamberlain Squares.
There will be a full day’s entertainment programme, opening with Charlie Chaplin silent movies on the big Screen in Victoria Square and performances from The Midlands Military Community Choir and the Alan Warner Band and Music Hall Show with Maggie O’Hara.
Birmingham’s Poet Laureate Joanna Skelt and Young Poet Laureate Lauren Williams will both be performing specially commissioned poems from the main stage.
The Western Front Association will also be hosting talks in the Council House for those wishing to learn more about the war and its links to Birmingham.
In addition to the stage programme, representatives of the Armed Forces will be in attendance, with weapon displays from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and a field hospital display by the 202 Field Hospital comparing modern day army resources with those of 1914.
There will also be Living History displays, Military displays by the Armed Forces and craft workshops. The Gold medal winning Chelsea Flower Show First World War themed display will also be open to the public.
Then on Monday and 100 years to the day that Britain declared war on Germany there will be a Candlelight Vigil at Birmingham Cathedral between 5.30pm and 11pm.
Visitors to the Cathedral will be able to enjoy a beautiful mix of words, music and silence. The vigil will be led by the Cathedral clergy and in the final hour, there will be a live ‘big screen link-up’ with the service at Westminster Abbey.
The event will be part of Lights Out 14-18 which is a UK wide event which aims to have one light on at 11pm to mark the time at which war was declared on Germany in 1914.
The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley will also be hosting a candlelit commemoration on Monday centred around the Museum’s Chapel and the War Memorial.
The evening of reflection will commemorate the First World War with a 1914 style service in the Chapel, followed by a candlelit procession to the War Memorial.
Admission to this event will be free of charge but by pre-booked ticket only. To book a ticket please call 0121 520 8054 if you would like to attend.
The event starts at 9.30pm and ends at 11pm.
The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire will also be holding a candlelit vigil on the Armed Forces Memorial to commemorate all who served and sacrificed during the War.
The moving service will include prayers, readings, music and poetry and will enable visitors a rare opportunity to explore its beautiful grounds in the evening.
People will also have the chance to meet costumed interpreters including a WWI nurse, chaplain and an officer who will be on hand to talk about their vital roles during the war.
Sarah Montgomery, managing director at the National Memorial Arboretum, said: “The Armed Forces Memorial lit by candles at dusk will be a particularly poignant sight. Everyone is welcome to join us to light a candle and remember the sacrifices made and the loss suffered by so many during the Great War.”