Light­ing the way


Uxbridge Gazette - - Front Page - By TOM HOR­TON

AROUND 10,000 flames have filled the empty moat en­cir­cling the Tower of Lon­don to mark the cen­te­nary of the end of the First World War.

A cer­e­mo­nial Beefeater guard be­gan the light­ing cer­e­mony by bring­ing a flame down from the tower into the moat, which had been sub­merged in smoke.

Dozens of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the armed forces and vol­un­teers then used the flame to ig­nite thou­sands of other torches staked into or placed on the ground un­der­neath the tower, bathing the bar­ren moat in light.

Mid­ship­man Bal­raj Dhanda, of the Royal Navy, a vol­un­teer who helped light the flames, de­scribed the spec­ta­cle as “re­ally, re­ally pow­er­ful”.

“I think it cre­ates the right at­mos­phere for peo­ple to have their own per­sonal re­flec­tions and gives peo­ple time with their own thoughts,” he added.

It took around 45 min­utes to light the flames, which then burn for roughly four hours.

The cer­e­mony was ac­com­pa­nied by a spe­cially com­mis­sioned sound in­stal­la­tion fea­tur­ing choral mu­sic, as well as words from war poet Mary Bor­den’s Son­nets To A Soldier.

The cer­e­mony was “amaz­ing”, ac­cord­ing to Dick Har­rold, gov­er­nor of the Tower of Lon­don.

He added: “What is so spe­cial about it is it means many dif­fer­ent things. The mes­sage with the sound is not fo­cused so much on those that were lost, but those that were left be­hind, the be­reaved and oth­ers who were af­fected by war.”

The suc­cess of the 2014 dis­play of pop­pies at the tower meant His­toric Royal Palaces, who main­tain the land­mark, were keen to mark the cen­te­nary of Armistice.

“But, of course, we couldn’t do pop­pies again,” added Mr Har­rold.

Spec­ta­tors gath­ered on van­tage points around the tower to wit­ness the spec­ta­cle. A minute’s si­lence was also ob­served.

The cer­e­mony, named Be­yond The Deep­en­ing Shadow, will be re­peated each night un­til the fi­nal show­ing on Re­mem­brance Sun­day.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic can watch the spec­ta­cle for free.

Photo: PA/John Still­well


Yeomen of the Guard salute be­fore light­ing torches in the in­stal­la­tion

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