A series of events to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War will be held in Dunstable following a lottery award.
Dunstable Town Council this week received £9,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a project called Dunstable’s Journey Through The Great War And Beyond.
Awarded through HLF’s First World War: Then And Now programme, the project will focus on preserving and sharing with the community the local history of Dunstable during the 1914-18 conflict.
The grant will be used to fund a special free event on September 20 in Priory House and Gardens, from 10am to 4pm, and also a three month exhibition in Priory House.
The free event will be an educational, interactive experience looking at the impact of the war on family life, children’s schools and toys. There will also be a First World War recruitment stand, a nursing and medical display and a cavalry picket line.
In a ceremony at the war memorial, 185 poppies will be displayed in the surrounding trees to represent the people from Dunstable who died during the conflict. The poppies have been made by local children and groups.
The specially created exhibition, displayed in the Priory House exhibition room, will focus on Dunstable during the war years.
Volunteers and members of the public have collected photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, and also donated personal items to display.
The exhibition will be launched at the September 20 event and there will be no charge for entrance.
Chairman of community services, Councillor Patricia Staples, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the grant is a wonderful opportunity for the town council to mark this centenary year.
“We hope the event and exhibition will be educational and informative for all who attend. It will provide families with the opportunity to engage with our local history and learn about the impact the conflict had on everyday life.”
The head of the HLF in the East of England, Robyn Llewellyn, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond.
“The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £15million in projects – large and small –that are marking this global centenary.
“Projects like this are enabling even more communities like those involved in Dunstable’s Journey Through The Great War to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”