A NEW website exploring the impact of the First World War on the North-East will be launched next week (Wednesday, September 10).

The Durham at War website will give the public online access to thousands of original documents, objects and stories and will be launched on Wednesday by broadcaster John Grundy.

Backers hope website users will add information to the site as they conduct their research and use it to publicise events and activities commemorating the war.

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The Heritage Lottery Fund gave Durham County Council £475,100 to create the resource.

A public information drop-in session will be held at County Hall, Durham, on Wednesday from 4pm to 8pm.

The launch date was chosen as it is a century since the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) arrived in France to fight.

Councillor Neil Foster, the council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “This is a very exciting project that will give people unprecedented access to a wide range of original sources, enabling them to find out about the impact of the First World War on their community and possibly even their own family members.

“I hope that people will make the most of the opportunity to delve into the museum, library and archive collections as well as their cupboards at home to help us make the website a truly unique resource.”

Ivor Crowther, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: “The launch of the Durham at War website will, for the first time, give people the chance to explore and uncover their wartime history by piecing together archive material, objects and oral histories charting County Durham’s considerable contribution to the war effort.”