Next year sees the 100th anniversary of the death of Shropshire World War I poet Wilfred Owen, who was killed in action next to the canal at Ors in Northern France on the 4th November 1918 and is buried in the local cemetery.

This week the Mayor of Ors, Jacky Duminy was handed an official invitation and plaque from the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Cllr Jane Mackenzie by Maggie Love of Shrewsbury Heritage to attend the launch of next year’s Wilfred Owen events on 4th August 2018.

M. Duminy was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2014 to honour his outstanding efforts to perpetuate the memory of soldier and poet Wilfred Owen. The local primary school is now named after him.

While in France this week Maggie visited Wilfred Owen’s grave during a tour with the Mayor of Ors and laid a poppy on it to remember one of Shropshire’s most celebrated sons. She also presented the Mayor with a book about Shrewsbury Castle, home of the Shropshire Regimental Museum and the venue for a highly anticipated production by Shrewsbury Youth Theatre called ‘Two Minutes’ Silence’.

Since 2012 Shropshire communities have been working in partnership to deliver an extensive and ambitious programme of heritage and arts activities to commemorate World War I, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council, England.

The project will culminate in a large scale commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Wilfred Owen’s death at the age of 25 in November 1918, just 7 days before the armistice. In 2018 the events of WO100 will reflect on this emotional landmark with exhibitions, installations and projects from the 2014 – 2018 commemorative period and celebrate Shropshire’s soldier and poet Wilfred Owen MC. There will be a specialiy commissioned concert at Theatre Severn by Bookfest Remembers and St Chad’s Music Festival.

The life and contribution of Wilfred Owen and all the other natives of Shropshire who were swept up into the services during the conflict will be a key element in the programme. Shrewsbury Heritage, Shropshire Archives and Shropshire Arts Service will coordinate a county wide partnership. The production of a complementary programme of Cultural Arts activity will be published in May 2018.