WITH the centenary of the breakout of the First World War just a month away, Worcester MP Robin Walker has spoken of his pride in the city’s role in the conflict.

Speaking in parliament on Thursday, June 27, Mr Walker paid tribute to wartime figures connected with the city such as Woodbine Willie and Vesta Tilley and said he was proud the landmark was being properly commemorated in Worcester.

The Conservative MP was speaking in a debate about commemorations being held across the country to mark the anniversary and said it was important to remember the uniting aspects of war rather than how it divided people.

“I am proud that Worcester will play its part in marking the centenary of World War One and this represents an opportunity to positively celebrate both our heritage and culture,” he said. “We are privileged to have local notables such as Woodbine Willie, Private Fred Dancox VC and Vesta Tilley with which to engage the next generation in both learning and commemorating the conflict.”

“I would like to commend the work of both voluntary and statutory organisations in ensuring that Worcester will make a varied contribution through our museums, commemorative services and the Three Choirs Festival to ensuring that the service and sacrifice of the previous generation is not forgotten”.

Mr Walker also paid tribute to the men of the Worcestershire Regiment who held back German forces in the Battle of Gheluvelt in 1914 as well as the Worcestershire Yeomary who served in the Middle East during the conflict.

Later this year he will visit the battlefield of Messines in Belgium with the British Parliamentary Assembly.

Commemorations taking place in the city this year include parades and events as part of next month’s Three Choirs Festival and the Worcester Literary Festival.

A project dubbed Worcestershire World War One also opened in The Commandery in Sidbury this week and people in the city are being asked to bring in stories, photographs and memorabilia of the conflict.