In the dim, flickering light, exactly 100 years since Britain declared war on Germany, the people of Preston remembered.
Almost 2,000 candles - one for every soldier named on the Roll of Honour - were placed by the war memorial in the city’s Flag Market following a procession from Preston Minster.
Street lights were switched off from 10pm, and solitary lights shone from surrounding churches, civic buildings, offices and homes as part of the nationwide Lights Out event to commemorate the start of the First World War.
Thousands turned out for the event to gather around Preston’s darkened war memorial. Having lead a procession of a hundred from the minster, Preston Mayor Coun Nick Promfret began the service by quoting the then Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, whose words inspired the event.
Quoting the famous words, he said: “The lamps are going out over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
Coun Pomfret continued in his own words, adding: “Tonight we are making history. Thank you to everyone taking part.”
The city fell silent as 10pm approached. As the clock ticked to the hour, the poem In Flanders Fields was read out, and 40 volunteers began laying 1,956 candles in a semi circle before the war memorial. History teacher Lisa Lo from Ashton was at the event with her family. She said: “We’ve come to remember the sacrifice of all the young men involved, it’s very important we do.”
John Houghton said he was taking part in respect for his great uncle Thomas Jemson of Arkwright Street, Preston, who was killed in France aged 20, on August 29, 1918.
The event closed with prayers from Father Timothy Lipsomb, vicar of Preston.
He said: “How proud would each soldier, sailor and airman be to be remembered on this night 100 years on from the commencement of war?
“Each candle represents a dear soul, a son, a grandson, a brother, a father, a sibling, a person cherished, even if they only lived a short time.
“As this blaze of light grows stronger we remember these souls together brightened the lives of so many around them.”
Earlier in the day, a host of events had taken place around the county.
Part of Liverpool Road in Penwortham was temporarily closed to allow a service at the town’s war memorial.
Two hundred people attended and a two-minute silence was punctuated by teenager Jamie Edwards who played the Last Post and Reveille on a German bugle from the First World War.
It had been found in the trenches by a British soldier who gave it to his daughter, who lives in Penwortham. She then gave it to the Friends of Penwortham War Memorial.
The group’s chairman, Ron Drakefield said: “It was a very moving ceremony, and I was proud to be a part of it.”
Wreathes were laid by Penwortham Mayor, Coun Susan Prynn, the Royal British Legion and the Friends of Penwortham War Memorial.
Rev Chris Nelson of St Mary’s Church read prayers at the end of the service, which was followed at 10pm by the lighting of 73 candles to represent the men from Penwortham who perished.
The Mayor of South Ribble, Coun Graham Walton, lowered flags flying above the Civic Centre in Leyland, and alongside council leader Coun Margaret Smith, read poems and led moments of quiet reflection.
A bugler from Leyland Band played the Last Post and The Reveille to end proceedings.
A service was also held with local children and soldiers at the war memorial off Factory Lane, Whittle-le-Woods, and a remembrance walk was held from the Royal British Legion branch in Lostock Hall.
Blackburn Cathedral held a special service on Sunday as alongside weekend events across the county.