Monday, 11 November 2013

Young people launch centenary commemoration of the First World War

As the city prepares to mark the centenary of the First World War in 2014, a group of young volunteers called The Preservative Party, with a passion for history and museums, are commemorating the stories and memories of the conflict through the eyes of the city of Leeds.

Launched today on Armistice Day, Monday 11 November, their Facebook timeline will explore the impact of the war on Loiners through a range of themes, including the armed forces, hospitals, industry, the role of women and the home front.

Entirely researched, designed and produced by the young people themselves, with support from Leeds City Council museum staff, the timeline project is part of a programme of activities being planned as the centenary approaches.

Included in the timeline will be the chance for people across the city to share their memories of the First World War passed down from generation to generation. They can follow the stories of individual people in Leeds, including Edward Spetch, who survived being shot when the cigarette case in his pocket absorbed the impact of the bullet.

Delivered by many groups and organisations across the city, including the University of Leeds through its Legacies of War programme, a major series of activities will be held in commemoration of the beginning of the war in 1914 and over the following four years.

This will include exhibitions and events by Leeds Museums and Galleries and Leeds Library and Information Service, including a poetry workshop for young people with Sir Andrew Motion, the former Poet Laureate, to be held in Leeds Central Library in October 2014, in partnership with the University.

A key part of the Facebook Timeline will be the chance for people to interact and contribute to the material that is displayed on the timeline. Pictures, memories and stories for possible inclusion on the timeline can be sent to or uploaded direct at

People can also get in touch via Twitter @PresParty with the hashtag #WW1Leeds.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:

"Next year we mark the start of the commemoration of what was called then the Great War, one hundred years ago. It will be a time for reflection about war and peace and the long term impact of this first global conflict and it is only right that as a city we pay our own tribute to the people who gave their lives and served their country both on the home front and abroad.

"As part of this commemoration, events and activities will be held in our city and across the region by a wide range of groups and organisations that will focus on many different aspects of the war.

"We are hoping that as many people as possible will take part in the commemoration of the First World War, which left an indelible mark in so many ways on the fabric of our city, region and country."

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:

"The launch of this timeline promises to offer an extremely poignant reminder of the long lasting impact the First World War had on both our city and the people of Leeds.

"The young people who have put together this timeline have done a fantastic job, and it will be extremely interesting to not only read the individual stories of people from Leeds, but also the facts about key events.

"There is also the chance to share your own families’ memories which have been passed on from generation to generation on the timeline that will provide a further telling insight into many aspects of the conflict."

Notes to editors:

For more information on the global commemoration of the First World War Centenary, please see the Imperial War Museums website at: or the University of Leeds:

Anyone interested in joining The Preservative Party can contact them via the group's email address, which is:

An event will also be held on 25 November at Leeds City Museum for Schools to hear more about the projects and to encourage their young people to get involved. Further details of this event will follow.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Volunteering proves a hit in Leeds parks

Caption: (L-R) - Cllr Jack Dunn, with corporate volunteers from Zenith at Calverley Park.

Parks across the city have become a hub for corporate volunteering, thanks to an innovative partnership between Leeds City Council and local businesses.

In the last year, 1,847 days of work on parks and other green spaces in Leeds were undertaken by corporate volunteers made up of local businesses, charities and organisations, which are eager to become more involved in the improvement of their local environment, through a numbers of means including sponsorship.

As part of this initiative, a range of tasks have been carried out by corporate volunteers in a number of the cities’ parks. This has included the planting of flowers and shrubs and maintenance such as path resurfacing, the construction of steps and the cutting back of overhanging branches.

One such park to benefit from corporate volunteering is Calverley, which is sponsored by vehicle leasing and fleet management company, Zenith. Based in Calverley, employees from the company have planted an edible bed as part of a range of volunteer days they have undertaken.

Any group, organisation, charity or business which are interested in sponsoring or undertaking corporate volunteering at a Leeds park, are asked to contact the Leeds City Council’s parks and Countryside team on: (0113) 395 7400 or e-mail: for more details.

Councillor Jack Dunn, Leeds City Council’s lead member for the environment said:

"It is fantastic news that more and more of our city’s businesses, charities and organisations are becoming involved in caring for their green spaces.

"This really does make a difference, and provides great support to the tremendous efforts of the council’s Parks and Countryside team to keep our parks looking in great condition

"I would urge any local groups or businesses who may be interested in sponsoring or undertaking volunteer work at our parks to contact the council’s parks and countryside team for a chat."

Marisa Jerrison, Head of Human Resources and Development at Zenith said:

"We are always looking for new ways to give back to our local community. Calverley Park is close to our office and we were very pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside Leeds City Council and encourage the growth of edible plants.

"We have also enjoyed some great team building days through our involvement. We look forward to continuing this partnership into the future."

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578