COMMUNITIES around Blaenau Gwent gathered to commemorate the centenary of the First World War at Tredegar yesterday. (sun)

The commemoration service was held at St George's Church on Church Street before a parade to the war memorial at Bedwellty Park. Members of the Royal British Legion including the Islwyn and Blackwood branch attended the event.

The parade was led by the Tredegar Town Band who then sounded the Last Post.

Alun Davies, Blaenau Gwent AM, who laid a wreath at the site, said: "We are here today in this place to remember the people who died in the war. I have brought my young son whose four years old and my two young girls for them to reflect and understand the reality of what happened a century ago.

"The first soldiers left from Gwent six to seven hours after war was declared. At the end of the war the majority of men had been killed.

"It is important as our human memory diminishes that we remember this. That we recognise what happened and that this will never again happen in the future."

The centenary event was organised by the Blaenau Gwent Heritage Forum and supported by the Community Grant Scheme and Sainsbury's.

Peter Morgan Jones, member of the Blaenau Gwent Heritage Forum, said: "This isn't a Tredegar event it's an area wide event. People have travelled all over to be here today from Glastonbury to Brecon. It is very important to remember."

Jeff Darkins, member of the Blaenau Gwent Heritage Forum, said: "Everyone involved has been incredibly supportive. We've had funding from the Armed Forces Covenant and starting in September we hope to set up workshops in primary schools to teach children about the First World War.

"Today's commemorations have been well attended by all those in the community."

Michael Prescoed, 77, who was parade marshall, said:" It is very important to remember those who died. Their names are all written on the memorial here.

"There are a few of us from the Royal British Legion here today. I served with the Royal Air Force in Aden in the Middle East, my father served in the Second World War and my grandfather in the First World War.

"I visited the graves of those who fought in the battle of Passchendaele which took place in 1917."

The ceremony was followed by performances by the Tredegar Orpheus Male Voice Choir and Oakdale Silver Band. The park held exhibits featuring The Third Monmouthshire Battalion and an AFC flight simulator.