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Belfast Blitz 75th Anniversary - a weekend of events

Blitz 75th Anniversary: Soldiers and rescue workers search and clear debris in the Hillman Street/Antrim Road area

A WEEKEND of events, including a Blitz-themed family day, ecumenical church service and `light and sound' show, will mark the 75th anniversary of the Belfast Blitz.

On the night of Tuesday April 15 1941, almost 200 Luftwaffe bombers undertook the second - and biggest - of four raids on the city.

More than 900 people were killed, in the biggest loss of life in any night raid outside London, with a further 1,500 injured.

Another 150 people were killed in a subsequent raid on the night of May 4/5 1941.

Commemorations, organised by Belfast City Council, will begin with the unveiling of the first in a series of memorial plaques at St George's Market - which was used as a temporary mortuary - at 10 30am on Friday April 15, the anniversary of the raid.

Afterwards there will be a ceremony at noon in the Northern Ireland War Memorial Gallery in Talbot Street, which the public are welcome to attend.

Later, there will be a lecture by Dr Brian Barton, author of `The Belfast Blitz: The City in the War Years', in the Bobbin coffee shop in City Hall between 6.30pm and 8pm.

A `sound and light' presentation will then take place in the City Hall grounds, accompanied by the screening of the names of the dead on its big screen.

On Saturday there will be a `Blitz-themed' family open day in the Northern Ireland War Memorial gallery from 10.30am until 2.30pm.

On Sunday April, an ecumenical service of commemoration will be held at 3.30pm in St Anne's Cathedral in conjunction with St Patrick's Church, Donegall Street.

Candles will be lit to offer symbolic reflection for those who lost their lives during the Blitz.

This public service will mark the end of the weekend of commemorations, however, a 1940s-themed tea dance will also be held at the Ulster Hall on May 2.

For further information on the Belfast Blitz commemorations, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/events

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