The opening of the exhibition will take place shortly after 12pm on Friday, 18 July followed by a short service and ceremony conducted by Father Dominic Howarth of local catholic churches.
Among those present for the ceremony will be the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Lord Petre. Veterans of the Normandy D Day landings and the Korean war will also be present as a tribute to those who served from 4 August 1914, the date when Great Britain entered the conflict.
Shoppers will be able to learn more about the war from a series of storyboards that chronicle the events leading up to the war through to its conclusion in 1918. Photography from the period will also be featured both on the storyboards and plasma screens.
“The 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War is a highly significant time for the whole of Great Britain and we wanted to pay our respects to all those who took part,” says Mike Horton, marketing manager at Eastgate. “Obviously nothing can properly convey the true horrors of the war, but if our efforts can stimulate shoppers of all ages to delve more closely into the stories behind the various events of the time then we will have achieved our aims.”
Eastgate will be using the occasion to unveil a sculpture of remembrance for the first time, carved from a single piece of ash by Writtle sculptor Alistair Smith. Wreaths will be laid around the sculpture in honour of those who gave their lives serving their country.
“This occasion is entirely appropriate to unveil our sculpture, which will be seen repeatedly on all occasions in the future when we have cause to remember those who contributed so much towards our continuing freedom,” adds Mike.
Eastgate’s exhibition will run until Tuesday, 5 August when it will be moved from its location opposite Starbucks to a gallery on the upper mall.