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Moving Somme tribute wins heritage award

| Written by Shetland News

Participants were dressed in World War I gear, and were designated a real soldier who died on the first day of the bloody battle. Participants were dressed in World War I gear, and were designated a real soldier who died on the first day of the bloody battle. A NATIONWIDE commemoration marking the start of the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago which partly took place in Shetland last year has been named the UK's top heritage project.

A host of locals featured in the moving Project Octagon art initiative as they took on the part of real soldiers and appeared in a number of locations in Lerwick, Scalloway and St Ninian's Isle.

The event, which included 1,500 people across the UK and was dubbed 'We're here because we're here', was commissioned by 14-18-NOW and it has won the Best Heritage prize at this year's National Lottery Awards.

The ghostly display took place on 1 July last year and each person, dressed in World War I gear, was designated a real soldier who died on the first day of the bloody battle.

They were told not to speak to any members of the public and instead had to hand our cards which had details of the soldier they were representing.

The initiative, created by Turner Prize-winning conceptual artist Jeremy Deller in conjunction with National Theatre, was coordinated locally by Shetland Arts.

14-18 NOW director Jenny Waldman said: "National Lottery funding has helped us create extraordinary arts experiences that connect people with the First World War.

"We are delighted that 'We're here because we're here' has made such an impact on the public. Winning this National Lottery Award is tremendous recognition for our artists, supporters, funders and volunteers."

'We're here because we're here' will feature on a BBC One show about the awards' winners on 27 September.

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