COMMEMORATIONS will take place over the next two weeks to honour the fallen of World War I from the Gala Water valley.

The communities of Stow, Fountainhall and Heriot will come together to pay their respects on the centenary anniversary of the 1914-1918 conflict ending.

As well as Remembrance ceremonies taking place on Sunday morning in each community, a special book launch and play will be held by the Gala Water History and Heritage Association later in the evening.

Fraser Simm's Gala Water in the First World War is a thoroughly-researched and fascinating study into these rural communities during the First World War.

The fascinating and enjoyable book covers the stories of the men from the valley who went to serve their country and how local life changed while they were away.

Four years’ research has gone into completing Gala Water in the First World War.

And it is one of the few books about area to be written since Thomas Wilson’s history of Stow of Wedale, published in 1922.

Following the launch of Gala Water in the First World War, Nettie Simm's play, And a Blackbird Sang, will be performed in the Town Hall.

A spokesman for Gala Water History and Heritage Association told us: "The book launch will precede a short play written by Nettie Simm.

"The play tells the story – in words and music – of the Gala Water during the War.

"The story centres on the men from Stow and the surrounding houses and farms, such as Corsehope, Burnhouse, Cathpair, Torsonce and Torquhan which feature in the book.

"It adds local flavour, humour and pathos to their story. And songs of the time, will be interspersed throughout the story, sung by the cast, accompanied by Ruth Flavin on harp and Nick Flavin on melodion.

"The performance of the play will be the first and only time it can be seen, and the cast, which includes children, are all local residents."

Following the performance there will be community singing led by Stuart Anderson.

To conclude the commemorations an exhibition depicting the Gala Water valley during the war will be staged in Stow Town Hall on Saturday, November 17 from 12 noon to 3.30pm.

The exhibition will display about 100 items, from letters, photographs and stories to household items and military equipment and artefacts.

The exhibition has been curated by Mary Craig and Dorothy Riddell.

The spokesman added: "The three events promise to be an excellent tribute to the local men who served their country one hundred years ago."