CANDLES will be lit across the region tonight as the nation marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The Lights Out initiative will see lights switched off in churches, public buildings, workplaces and private homes, each with one left burning as a symbol of hope in the darkness.

War was declared at 11pm on 4 August 1914, and as the moment approached Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

Lights Out is organised by 14-18 NOW, the cultural programme for the First World War Centenary Commemorations.

In York lights will be switched off at the Minster, Mansion House, Guildhall, West Offices and Hazel Court as well as at many churches.

The lantern in the tower above All Saints pavement will be lit at 10pm. All Saints is the Guild and Civic Church of York, the regimental church of the Royal Dragoon Guards.

A sunset service will be held at 8pm at the Railway Cenotaph, Station Rise, led by the Rev Dr Stephen Sorby, Railway Chaplain.

The 100th anniversary candle will be lit.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “Sadly our prayers will not just be those of distant remembrance – violent conflict is a brutal reality today.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

Ted Griffiths, a York veteran of the Second World War and longstanding Royal British Legion fundraiser, said: “The idea in itself is right, it’s very important. It’s commemorating something that we who fought in the last war never wanted to see happen again.”

Canon Pastor Michael Smith, who will conduct tonight’s service at York Minster, said: “The effects of that war can still be felt today – the roots of so many modern conflicts can be found in the First World War.

“The service and vigil of prayer will provide a space for solemn reflection and remembrance of the suffering, sacrifice and courage of those caught up in those terrible events. “ For more information on the Lights Out initiative, visit