Ballot opens for official Somme tickets
A ballot has opened allowing the public to apply for tickets to the official centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme.
The commemorative event will take place on July 1 at Thiepval Memorial - the official monument to the British and French soldiers who fell during the conflict.
Residents of the UK, Ireland and France can all apply for tickets to the free event and the ballot will remain open until November 18, the day the battle ended in 1916. The event will also be televised to towns throughout the UK.
Up to 10,000 people are expected to attend the memorial with 8,000 of those being selected by ballot.
Other events taking place in France next year include a vigil in Thiepval on June 30 along with other smaller events each day from July 2 to November 18 to mark the 141 days of the battle.
Opening the ballot, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: 'The centenary event in Thiepval will be an opportunity to pay tribute to those who sacrificed so much at Somme and ensure that their legacy continues for generations.
'Now that the ballot is open, I hope people will apply for tickets for what I believe will be an incredibly important and deeply moving event,' he added.
'It’s important that everyone has the chance to remember and honour the sacrifices made both here and in France so I am delighted that in the coming months we will be announcing a further programme of events here in the UK to mark this centenary.'
CLICK HERE to apply for tickets.