Armistice Centenary Service to celebrate the founding of Leicester’s first Uni


All are invited to a special service marking the centenary of the founding of the University of Leicester as a memorial to those who served, and too often died, in the Great War.


Everybody is welcome to the Service of Remembrance at the Cathedral marking the WWI Armistice centenary at 4pm on Sunday 11th November.


The service will include civic representation including the Lord Lieutenant, the Chair of the County Council and the Lord Mayor of Leicester as well as representatives of the University and of the British, French and German Armed Forces.


The University of Leicester was established through public subscription as a direct response to the lives blighted and lost in WWI to give to future generations the opportunities denied to the war generation. This foundation is echoed in the university’s motto Ut Vitam Habeant (So that they may have life).


The Cathedral is currently hosting an exhibition of how the war affected its community in central Leicester. Local historian Elizabeth Amias has launched a website sharing the stories of people from the parish who went to war; those who died; those who returned alive and those who had to live with the consequences. The free exhibition in the Cathedral runs until 12th November. You can reach the website by clicking here.


You can see more about the events and services in the Cathedral’s People Politics Peace season by clicking here.


The sermon will be given by Bishop of Loughborough, the Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani, and a Wilfred Owen poem will be read by Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Colonel Murray Colville.


During the service, 10 perspex silhouettes of soldiers will be situated in the Cathedral nave. These are part of the nationwide There But Not There project which sees people who died in service during the war represented in their home congregations, marking their ghost-like presence in the churches they never returned to.


The Cathedral (then St Martins Church) lost more than 40 of its congregation through the war. As part of this Armistice Centenary Service, actors from De Montfort University’s Dance Group will stand alongside each of these silhouettes to stage a performance which will portray movement from darkness to light, finishing with a theme of hope, alliance and friendship.


There will be a reading from Versailles Treaty from Cathedral Canon Precentor, Fr Johannes Arens, and a letter published in the city’s Daily Post newspaper in 1917 calling for a university to be established as a war memorial, will be read by University of Leicester President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle.


Scripture will be read by Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire Mike Kapur and an act of commitment to work together for peace will be led by Cathedral Dean, the Very Revd David Monteith with prayers by Elizabeth Blood, a PhD Student at University of Leicester who is giving a free talk about how WWI led to the creation and founding of Leicester’s first university at the Cathedral on Monday 29th October at 6.30pm.

First published on: 5th August 2019

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