Friday, 5 August 2011

1000 Paper Cranes to commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

Leeds will commemorate the 66th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings next week at a ceremony in Park Square.

The annual event, which remembers the innocent victims of the bombings, will take place at the Mayors for Peace memorial, in the centre of Park Square, on Tuesday 9 August.

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All media are invited to the event in Park Square on Tuesday 9 August at 10.40am. The Lord Mayor will be in attendance along with plenty of volunteers learning how to fold paper cranes.

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The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Reverend Alan Taylor will lay a wreath to commemorate the anniversary and members of the public will be invited to lay origami paper cranes, a world wide symbol for peace, alongside the memorial. Most of the cranes were folded earlier this year as part of a ‘Fold For Japan’ disaster fundraiser led by local art enthusiast Kirsty Ware, an employee at Leeds City Council. The event raised almost £1000 to help victims and survivors of the Japanese earthquake.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Reverend Alan Taylor said:
“This annual service gives people in Leeds the chance to reflect and remember the terrible events of 1945 that happened in Japan.

“I encourage people to attend the event and take the time to remember and consider the effects on innocent civilian populations of modern warfare. This year we will also remember the victims of the Japanese tsunami and the terrible consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.”

Over 200,000 people were killed and tens of thousands more suffered serious injuries in the two attacks on Japanese cities as part of the second world war.

The event will will include readings of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2011 peace declarations by the mayors of each city, the laying of a wreath by the Lord Mayor, a two minutes silence, readings of poetry written by survivors of the bombings and the placing of the origami cranes.

Notes to editors:
The event is organised by Leeds City Council’s Peacelink group on behalf of Mayor’s for Peace - a liaison group between the council and the various peace, humanitarian, development and faith groups in the city.

The idea of placing the paper origami cranes is from Sadako Sasaki. Sadako was a young Japanese girl who died from leukaemia caused by radiation ten years after the bombing in Hiroshima.

Before she died, Sadako folded almost a thousand origami paper cranes.
Sadako began her project because of a legend that said anyone who folded a thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. She wished to be healthy again, and she pursued her goal with such determination that, although she died of her disease, she succeeded in transforming the paper crane into a symbol of peace for children all over the world.

Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk