“On this day in 1918, the Armistice Agreement was signed between Germany and the Allies. The fighting stopped. And no gun was fired after 11 o’clock that day.”
Gala Remembers 2018 was branded a significant success after hundreds of people took part in a series of events to mark 100 years since the end of World War I, in and around Galashiels.
The ambitious programme of events, which launched in August, culminating in the Remembrance Day Service 2018, was made possible after a number of community organisations came together to remember one of the deadliest conflicts in history, which claimed the lives of 639 Galashiels men between 1914 and 1918.
Led by community group Energise Galashiels Trust, Gala Remembers 2018 included exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, live music, light displays, street art and acts of remembrance held in the town in October and November. It culminated in the Royal British Legion Scotland Remembrance Parade on Sunday 11 November, with a special Angel’s Wings Service that evening.
The community-led initiative, which was supported by a number of other organisations including Scottish Borders Council, also provided educational opportunities and entertainment.
Events included a World War I season at Pavilion Cinema and a themed afternoon tea and dance.
The Festival of Remembrance Concert on Friday 9th was an outstanding success. A WWI cabaret was held, along with lectures genealogy research days and exhibitions.
A crochet poppy design in the Focus Centre foyer and the unveiling of a Royal British Legion commemorative bench were also included in the programme.
Mike Gray, chair of Energise Galashiels Trust said: “Gala Remembers 2018 was a fantastic project which helped bring the town together and highlighted the importance of community engagement at the start of a major regeneration scheme of the town where partnership working is key.”
Bill White, chair of the Gala Remembers 2018 partnership said: “The aim of Gala Remembers 2018 was also to create a legacy to continue this project in the future, and alongside the various other projects being taken forward, it has the potential to help transform the town in the coming years.”
Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, added: “I am delighted to hear Gala Remembers 2018 has enjoyed such a successful year.
“A huge amount of hard work has gone into the programme from various community partners, and I am pleased the Council was able to support the project which brought people to Galashiels and the Scottish Borders.
“We are at the start of an exciting new journey for Galashiels, with the regeneration of the town through various projects such as the new national visitor attraction for the Great Tapestry of Scotland, the Galashiels Masterplan and the Galashiels BID initiative.
I hope the Gala Remembers 2018 partnership model can be part of this regeneration of the town going forward, and help create economic, social and educational benefits for Galashiels and the Scottish Borders.”
As part of the legacy of the project, a digital Book of Commemoration was published in November 2019. Energise Galashiels Trust encourage anyone to get in touch, should they have additional information on any of the town’s fallen from WWI or WWII. Email firstname.lastname@example.org