Young people launch centenary commemoration of the First World War

As the city prepares to mark the centenary of the First World War in 2014, a group of young volunteers called The Preservative Party, with a passion for history and museums, are commemorating the stories and memories of the conflict through the eyes of the city of Leeds.

Launched today on Armistice Day, Monday 11 November, their Facebook timeline will explore the impact of the war on Loiners through a range of themes, including the armed forces, hospitals, industry, the role of women and the home front.

Entirely researched, designed and produced by the young people themselves, with support from Leeds City Council museum staff, the timeline project is part of a programme of activities being planned as the centenary approaches.

Included in the timeline will be the chance for people across the city to share their memories of the First World War passed down from generation to generation. They can follow the stories of individual people in Leeds, including Edward Spetch, who survived being shot when the cigarette case in his pocket absorbed the impact of the bullet.

Delivered by many groups and organisations across the city, including the University of Leeds through its Legacies of War programme, a major series of activities will be held in commemoration of the beginning of the war in 1914 and over the following four years.

This will include exhibitions and events by Leeds Museums and Galleries and Leeds Library and Information Service, including a poetry workshop for young people with Sir Andrew Motion, the former Poet Laureate, to be held in Leeds Central Library in October 2014, in partnership with the University.

A key part of the Facebook Timeline will be the chance for people to interact and contribute to the material that is displayed on the timeline. Pictures, memories and stories for possible inclusion on the timeline can be sent to WW1.timeline@leeds.gov.uk or uploaded direct at https://www.facebook.com/WW1Leeds

People can also get in touch via Twitter @PresParty with the hashtag #WW1Leeds.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:

"Next year we mark the start of the commemoration of what was called then the Great War, one hundred years ago. It will be a time for reflection about war and peace and the long term impact of this first global conflict and it is only right that as a city we pay our own tribute to the people who gave their lives and served their country both on the home front and abroad.

"As part of this commemoration, events and activities will be held in our city and across the region by a wide range of groups and organisations that will focus on many different aspects of the war.

"We are hoping that as many people as possible will take part in the commemoration of the First World War, which left an indelible mark in so many ways on the fabric of our city, region and country."

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:

"The launch of this timeline promises to offer an extremely poignant reminder of the long lasting impact the First World War had on both our city and the people of Leeds.

"The young people who have put together this timeline have done a fantastic job, and it will be extremely interesting to not only read the individual stories of people from Leeds, but also the facts about key events.

"There is also the chance to share your own families’ memories which have been passed on from generation to generation on the timeline that will provide a further telling insight into many aspects of the conflict."

Notes to editors:

For more information on the global commemoration of the First World War Centenary, please see the Imperial War Museums website at: http://www.1914.org/ or the University of Leeds: www.arts.leeds.ac.uk/legaciesofwar

Anyone interested in joining The Preservative Party can contact them via the group's email address, which is: mostlyolderthanmygran@gmail.com

An event will also be held on 25 November at Leeds City Museum for Schools to hear more about the projects and to encourage their young people to get involved. Further details of this event will follow.

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk