Ashbourne – The Great War Commemoration Project

The folk of Ashbourne were treated to a week-long series of events commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. A five-strong committee of Royal British Legion members worked for more than 18 months on a packed programme of entertainment, talks and exhibitions.

Starting on July 26th 2014 there were various exhibitions throughout the town, including the recreation of a Red Cross Hospital and another on the ‘Home Front’, looking at the role of women during the war and how it affected the community. Children’s art was displayed at various venues. Other events included “Kitchener’s Party” with a concert in Ashbourne Memorial Gardens, a“boys’ game” of Shrovetide Football to recreate the football match on the Somme, and on the Recreation Ground entertainments and amusements from the time, a fancy dress competition for under-10s, suffragettes and a picnic in the park. Talks were held throughout the week and re-enactments of army recruitment and of the declaration of war.

To round off the commemorative events a candlelight vigil was held in the Memorial Gardens with a candle for each of the 111 fallen soldiers.