A PROJECT to commemorate the Battle of the Somme supported by Salisbury Playhouse has been voted the UK’s Best Heritage project.

Cold Feet star Hermione Norris surprised some of the team behind the event with the news that We’re here because we’re here had won its category at this year’s National Lottery Awards, the annual search for the nation’s favourite Lottery-funded good causes.

The event, commissioned by 14-18-NOW, beat off competition from 1,300 entries to win a £5,000 cash prize and a National Lottery Awards trophy and will have its work celebrated on a special BBC One show later this month.

On July 1, 2016 people were stopped in their tracks by the unexpected appearance of 1,400 volunteers dressed as soldiers in full First World War uniform in town centres and various locations across the UK, including Salisbury.

The visual arts experience marked the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

We’re here because we’re here was thought up by Turner-Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, the director of the National Theatre.

It was commissioned by 14-18-NOW, produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the National Theatre, with support from 25 regional performance organisations across the UK, including the Salisbury Playhouse. It also involved volunteers from all walks of life.

The artistic director of Salisbury Playhouse, Gareth Machin, said: “We were delighted that Salisbury Playhouse could play a part in this memorial and are grateful to the men from across Wiltshire who took part in such a memorable day.”

Jenny Waldman, the director at 14-18 NOW, added: “Winning this National Lottery Award is tremendous recognition for our artists, supporters, funders and volunteers.”

The winners of the National Lottery Awards are decided by the public. We here because we’re here received 4,192 votes to win Best Heritage project.