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HRH The Duke of Cambridge visits CWGC Living Memory Project to remember UK War Graves

10 November 2016

His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge visited war graves in Willesden New Cemetery, London today to see the work of Living Memory, a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) initiative that aims to encourage communities to discover their local CWGC war graves and memorials, explore the stories behind the names of those who gave their lives during the First World War and remember their sacrifice.

Launched earlier this year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme – one of the defining events of the First World War – the CWGC, working in partnership with the Big Ideas Company, sought 141 groups to hold 141 events between 1 July and 18 November to mark the 141 days of the Somme Offensive.

To date, more than 650 groups, from Premier League football clubs to schools, have requested information about the project and 230 events have taken place in cemeteries the length and breadth of the UK.

At the cemetery, The Duke met groups from local schools and community groups who have become involved in the Living Memory project in Willesden, and heard about the ways in which they are remembering the fallen.

His Royal Highness then visited a number of First World War CWGC war graves across the site, before observing a minute's silence and laying flowers at the cemetery's Cross of Sacrifice for Remembrance.

Colin Kerr, the CWGC’s Director of External Relations said: “The CWGC was honoured to have an opportunity to share some of the amazing projects that Living Memory has inspired with His Royal Highness.

“Within three miles of your front door, is the final resting place of someone who fought and gave their lives for us in the two world wars. The CWGC wants more people to discover these places, explore their rich history, cherish them and remember them.

“Our message, this remembrance time and always, to those who lie here in Willesden and those who are commemorated in thousands of Commonwealth War Graves Commission sites up and down the United Kingdom is this: the sacrifice you made will never be forgotten.”

Virginia Crompton, CEO Big Ideas Company said, “It’s been a brilliant experience working with communities here in Willesden. They have taken the war graves to their hearts and are Living Memory Champions, just like hundreds of other groups taking part right now across the country.

“This year more than 250 groups have joined the project to mark the Somme Centenary. There are war graves in every corner of the British Isles but almost all of us are unaware.

“It’s a great honour to have the opportunity to introduce the Duke of Cambridge to the project in Willesden New Cemetery – his visit will shine a light on this important and inspiring story.”