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To mark the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, the public will be invited to the Thiepval Memorial in France on 1 July 2016.

The joint Anglo-French commemoration of the Battle of the Somme is expected to attract great public interest, so tickets will be made available for the event.  The 8,000 tickets will be allocated in pairs, free of charge, through a public online ballot. The ballot will be open to residents of the UK, France and Ireland on 28 September 2015.  More details can be found on the Somme 2016 Ballot website at www.Somme2016.org

The Somme was one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, resulting in over one million casualties. A commemorative event is held at the Thiepval Memorial every year, but the Centenary event in 2016 will be on a larger scale, with some 10,000 people attending.

MP Rosie is encouraging constituents interested to apply through the online ballot, as well as the £4m National Lottery Fund. A further £4 million in National Lottery funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War: Then and Now programme has been announced, so communities can explore, conserve and share local heritage of the entire First World War.  This new money will help even more people get involved and explore the inspirational stories of the conflict including those surrounding the Battle of the Somme.

Rosie Cooper MP said:

“The Centenary of the Battle of the Somme is a time for reflection and commemoration. It is also an opportunity to educate a new generation of young people about the extraordinary events of a hundred years ago and to bring to life some of the personal stories from this remarkable sacrifice by thousands of British, Irish and French soldiers.

“Residents of West Lancashire should take the opportunity to apply for tickets through the online ballot for what will be a unique celebration of the lives of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

“With an extra £4m of Lottery Funding available for projects, I would encourage all schools, scout groups, community groups, parish councils and churches to consider applying for a grant to carry out a project to commemorate our fallen heroes.”

Previous World War commemoration activities to receive lottery funding included All Saints Primary School in Appley Bridge who designed and built a World War One Remembrance Garden, following a letter from MP Rosie Cooper encouraging local schools to get involved.

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