A PLAQUE commemorating the lives of eight children who died in a fire in Hereford's Garrick Theatre 102 years ago will be dedicated in Hereford Cathedral.

The dedication in the cathedral's Lady Arbour will take place on April 13 while the Weeping Window display of poppies is in situ on the cathedral.

The Very Revd. Michael Tavinor said: ""The two are linked. These little girls themselves played their own part in the war effort - they were not involved in combat, as those we so often recall, but they, in different and seemingly smaller ways, were part of the tragedy which we know as the Great War."

The children died in a fire at the end of a performance to raise money for troops at the Front, which makes the tragedy all the more poignant; the curtain fell, fire broke out on stage and eight little girls died as a result.

The community was obviously hugely saddened by the event and Broad Street was crowded with mourners when the funerals of five of the girls took place in Hereford Cathedral on April 13, 1916.

An earlier memorial was lost when the General Hospital was demolished and a small plaque was placed on the site of the Garrick Theatre, now the Garrick carpark, but relatives of the girls' families, many of whom still lived in Hereford, thought something more appropriate was needed.

Following a memorial service held in the cathedral to mark the centenary of the tragedy, the dean has worked with the families to identify both a place and funding for a new memorial.

With the support of the First World War Committee a plaque has now been made and placed in the Lady Arbour.

"After all these years, how right it is to offer sadness, gratitude and remembrance and still to say 'May they rest in peace and rise in glory'," Mr Tavinor said.

The plaque will be dedicated during a short service in the cathedral at 10.30am on the anniversary of the funerals and all are welcome to attend.