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Remembering the Blitz

Published Thursday, 12 November 2015

Coventry will stand in silence on 14 November to mark the 75th anniversary of the Blitz that devastated the city and left hundreds dead.

It will also be a night to remember and pay tribute to those who lived through that terrible night, and make sure the story of how the city suffered is never forgotten.
On the evening of Saturday 14 November, people are being asked to create a giant Human Chain of Peace and Light in University Square by the Cathedral and the Cathedral Ruins that stand as a symbol of Coventry’s rise from the ashes of the Blitz.

HRH The Duke of Kent will be joining hundreds of people from 6.30pm, when local schoolchildren will be singing songs from the ’40s and survivors will be telling their stories.

Then at 7pm, the crowd will stand shoulder to shoulder, with everyone shining a torch or mobile phone to symbolise communities joining together in a universal message of remembering the past but looking to the future.

The inspiration for the Human Chain comes from Dresden where a similar event takes place annually and attracts thousands of people from across the country.

Councillor Ann Lucas, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: "With each passing year the relevance of the human tragedy of the event and how Coventry rallied to become the city of peace and reconciliation grows in significance.
“This is a night to remember the terrible events of that night and how the city suffered, but also to recognise the way Coventry became the Phoenix City, rising from the ashes of the war to become famous around the world as a symbol of forgiveness and peace.”

The Blitz 75th commemorations programme will also offer a range of events, activities and opportunities to mark the anniversary.

On Saturday the Transport Museum will also be hosting a family day, from 10.30am to 4pm. Things to do include making a gas mask, learning to be an ARP Warden, how recycling helped during the war, inspiring women of the war, a Blitz family trail and more. You can even experience what it was like in an air raid shelter in the Priory Undercrofts!

The Friends of the War Memorial Park are inviting people to join them for an afternoon of song and companionship from 2pm - 4pm on Saturday in the Visitor Centre. Tea and biscuits are provided.

The day draws to a close at 7.30pm with a concert at the Cathedral featuring The St Michael's Singers, English Symphony Orchestra and the Parliament Choir performing Mozart’s Requiem and Solemn Vespers.  

Events continue on Sunday 15 November in the Cathedral, when the Lord Mayor Cllr Michael Hammon has invited Blitz survivors to lunch to help remember and reflect on the 75th anniversary, with nostalgic music performed by Sara Spade. 

The Blitz 75 events come to a close with the Lord Mayor and Bishop of Coventry in Coventry Cathedral at 7pm for a special Civic Service of Commemoration.

The anniversary is also being remembered through events during the Coventry Peace Festival and the RISING global peace forum, which will be held in the city from 11-13 November, featuring leading figures from across the world.

The Herbert is also hosting a number of exhibitions to mark the anniversary, including ‘Indelible Marks: The Dresden Project by Monica Petzal, a free, fascinating exhibition about memory, loss and family.
There will also be a special display of John Piper’s iconic paintings of the ruins of Coventry Cathedral on the morning after The Blitz and a new artwork by internationally renowned artist Gustav Metzger, exploring the bombing of Coventry and Munster in the Second World War. Visit http://www.theherbert.org/

To see more about the Blitz and events to commemorate the 75th anniversary, visit www.coventry.gov.uk, which also has stories from survivors, videos and photographs to mark the occasion.
For more information about the concert, visit www.saintmichaelssingers.org and for ticket information e-mailtickets@saintmichaelssingers.org or call 0844 477 1000.

 

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