THE lights went out across East Lancashire yesterday evening as the region took part in the national ‘Lights Out’ event to commemorate the start of the First World War.

A torch-lit parade took place in the grounds of Towneley Hall from 9.45pm to the war memorial.

The parade was followed by a service of remembrance including a speech from the Mayor of Burnley, Coun Andrew Tatchell, a service by Churches Together and Building Bridges, and a two-minute silence.

Rossendale Borough Council also hosted an event from 10pm at its Futures Park offices in Bacup.

In Whitworth there was candle lit ceremony in the Remembrance Gardens at the same time.

The events were inspired by the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey’s remark: “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

The Royal British Legion alongside local councils encouraged everyone to turn off their lights between 10pm and 11pm last night, leaving only a single light or candle as a symbolic act of reflection and hope.

The ‘Lights Out’ events were part of the ‘14-18 Now’ cultural programme marking the centenary. Coun Tatchell said: “It’s about marking the sacrifice that was made during the war.

“The Lights Out event was about passing on the stories from the First World War to the next generation so that they are not forgotten.

“It was an opportunity for the whole community to come together and recognise the sacrifice that was made and remember those who gave their hope, youth and lives to maintain freedom and peace.

“The war was on an unprecedented scale and in Burnley 4,000 people lost their lives after going to fight.

“We must make sure that the war is not lost in the sands of time.”