Probably Worcester's most famous link with the First World War is a vicar called Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy - otherwise known as Woodbine Willie.

Studdert-Kennedy was the vicar at St. Paul's church in the city centre when war broke out.  He volunteered to become an Army chaplain, and gained his nickname because he used to hand out cigarettes or "woodbines" to the troops in the trenches.

He was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery during the Battle of Messines Ridge.

He wrote poems about his experiences on the Western Front, reflecting on the horrors of war in the light of his Christian faith.

To mark the centenary of the start of WW1, two special events are being held at Studdert-Kennedy's church.  On Sunday October 19th, the local Civic Society are unveiling a blue plaque to commemorate Woodbine Willie.  There will be a special morning service at 10.30am, followed by the unveiling ceremony at 12.00pm.

On Saturday October 25th Searchlight Theatre Company will be coming to St Paul’s to perform a brand new play about Studdert-Kennedy called "Woodbine Willie - Poet and Padre".

The play – which features poetry and music - had its premiere at this year's Edinburgh Festival and was very well received.  David Robinson from the company says they are delighted to be able to kick off their national tour of the play at Studdert-Kennedy’s church.  Tickets are £10, and £5 for under-18’s.

For further information, or to purchase tickets, please call 01905 22022 or email