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The playing of 'The Last Post' and a two minute silence will take place this year on Formby


The playing of The Last Post and a two-minute silence will take place on Formby Beach as part of Danny Boyle’s Armistice commission Pages of the Sea it was announced today. On Sunday 11th November, the public is invited to assemble at one of thirty-two beaches around the UK and the Republic of Ireland at low-tide for an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.


At 11am visitors and staff at the National Trust beach in Formby will pause for a two-minute silence which will commence with the playing of The Last Post.


A large-scale portrait of Captain John Basil Armitage designed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye, will be drawn into the sand on the beach by 08.30am and will then be washed away by 12noon when the tide is in. In addition, the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict. Each of the beaches taking part in the project will commemorate a different WW1 casualty.


The portrait of Captain John Basil Armitage (28 May 1876 –17 May 1917) was chosen for Formby to represent the losses during the war and for his links to the North West region particularly.


The public is invited to explore an online gallery of portraits of some of the men and women who served in the First World War, and select someone to thank and say a personal goodbye to either via social media or as they gather in person on beaches on 11 November at www.pagesofthesea.org.uk. The images are drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ which aims to tell 8 million stories of those who served from Britain and the Commonwealth. Visitors to the website can also add their own portraits of members of their family or community who contributed to the First World War. www.livesofthefirstworldwar.org


Poet Carol Ann Duffy has been invited by Boyle to write a new poem, The Wound in Time, which individuals, families and communities will be invited to read as they gather on beaches on 11 November. The poem is also available online.


Justin Matthews, the National Trust’s Ranger at Formby says:

“Formby has an amazing and ever changing landscape. Its endless sandy beach, dramatic sand dunes, sweeping coastal pinewoods and rare wildlife is special to the people of Merseyside and visitors from further afield. It’s here that Poet Siegfried Sassoon, is said to have torn his Military Cross ribbon from his uniform and thrown it into the waves in an outburst of emotion. It’s a fitting place to pause and reflect at any time of year and especially poignant on the centenary of the end of the First World War.”


Visitors planning to take part in the commemorations at Formby are encouraged to use public transport to travel to and from Formby on the day to avoid traffic queues and delays to their visit. The event will be focused around the Board Walk Path at Lifeboat Road. This is a 20 minute walk from Formby Station via Kirklake Road or from Victoria Road car park via the Sefton Coastal Path. Lifeboat Road car park has the best access to the event, via the boardwalk and is most suitable for those with access needs, buggies or wheelchairs.


The work is commissioned and produced by 14-18 NOW, and is the culmination of the five-year programme of arts commissions marking the First World War centenary. It is delivered with partner organisations across the UK: National Trust; Activate Performing Arts; Creative Foundation; Eden Project; National Theatre Scotland; Nerve Centre; Sunderland Culture; Taliesin. The work is in association with Aberystwyth Arts Centre; The Grand Theatre of Lemmings; Magna Vitae; MOSTYN; SeaChange Arts; Swansea Council; Swansea University; Theatre Orchard; and Visit Blackpool. Each has been invited to create their own event centering around the sand art on the beach and reading of the poem, tailored to reflect the sacrifices of their local community. The community engagement programme for Pages of the Sea is supported by the Big Lottery Fund.


Supported by The National Lottery and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.


With additional support from Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and National Rail.


The public can see which beaches are taking part by visiting www.pagesofthesea.org.uk


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