Portfolio > Event Coverage > Remembrance Day 2018, Seaham Harbour, UK Click on an image below to reveal enlarged version
Remembrance Day Ceremony, Seaham Harbour, England, UK
Seaham Field of Remembrance unveiled, as new memorial to town's lost servicemen and women
A war memorial which honours every man and woman lost as they served their country was officially launched today. Hundreds of people turned out to watch the ceremony on the Terrace Green as the Seaham Field of Remembrance was unveiled. It marks the completion of the project, which has installed 900 bronze-coloured resin poppies on the fence looking out across the North Sea and as a backdrop of the Tommy statue. Each flower is decorated with the name of the servicemen and women who died while in the forces, with the design by Washington artist Allan Scott created to emulate the Dead Man's Penny, the medal given to the families of those lost in the First World War. Today's event was held just a short time after the completion of the pebble poppy display created by the Seaham Remember Them Fund in acknowledgement of the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by Sue Snowdon, Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Eric Ingram, Northumberland county president of the Royal British Legion, Easington MP Grahame Morris, Mayor of Seaham Barbara Allen and all three of the town's cadet forces and its Scout group.Houghton Pipe Band played during the ceremony, with the Last Post also performed as people fell silent to remember those who gave their lives. Members of the 103 Field Squadron, which is part of the 71 Engineers Regiment in Newcastle and has a troop based at the Territorial Army in Seaburn, also attended after they helped attach the poppies to the fence. Staff Sergeant Scott Robson said: "We had to come down for this event and it's great to
be together and bring the family down too. "We helped fit all the poppies last Monday and it's good to see it finished." Allan, who was commissioned to create the poppy after he helped with a project in his home town where poppies were placed outside the homes of those lost in conflict, said he was delighted to see the display come together. "It's just absolutely fantastic and I think the biggest pleasure for me is this is the first time in Seaham where all these people have had their names shown together," he said. "It's been very humbling to play a part in it and I think it looks very powerful, especially if you're driving along and can see all the plaques. "It's very effective and I think today has been a credit to its organisers." The display has been put in alphabetic order of those lost, with an addendum section created at the end as families have come forward with information about their loved on.
Gary Richardson led the project with the help of historians Kathleen Anderson and Brian Scollen as they researched the names, with a team of helpers then working to prepare the flowers. A total of Â£27,000 was raised to make it a reality, with funds now being collected to cover the cost of a website, which will carry information about those named in the memorial. Gary, who is also chairman of the town's Royal British Legion branch, said: "I think there's been a lovely turn out and it's been an excellent day. "This is now here for everybody to see and it will be here for as long as we can keep on top of it." Seaham's Remembrance Parade will be held at 11am next Sunday, starting from the Lord Londonderry statue on North Terrace, which will be closed off to traffic.
Tommy Poppy' tribute returns to Seaham as part of Remembrance commemorations
A charity is set to have hundreds of volunteers contribute to this year's Remembrance Day activity by adding vibrant colour to a picturesque landmark.
East Durham Trust encouraged delegates at its Annual Conference to paint stones which will be placed around the famous Tommy statue, in Seaham Harbour, as part of its Walk Together project.
The painted stoneswere collected by Remembrance Day organisers at a special ceremony during the conference, held at East Durham College. The tradition of creating the ‘Tommy Poppy’ around the statue was established by the Seaham Remember Them group, which arrange events all year round in support of Armed Forces initiatives. Veterans and volunteers on the project walked from Shotton War Memorial to the conference at the college, complete with bagpipes and flags, before the painted stones were ceremonially handed over. Chief executive of the trust Malcolm Fallow said: “We are theming this year’s conference on the part that Arts and Creativity can play in Social and Economic regeneration so this seemed so appropriate. “The Seaham Remember Them Fund is an incredible local organisation.” Founder Member of the group and veteran Dave McKenna added: “It is great to link with the trust in this way as we seek to raise the profile of the Poppy Appeal.
“At the end of the day this is all about the simple message ‘We Will Remember Them’.” East Durham Trust is a registered charity with an expressed purpose to promote the regeneration of rural and urban areas after suffering from the effects of social and economic decline. The trust is the flagship voluntary and community sector organisation for the area and also provides traditional support to local community groups. The charity is also host to the area’s Nationally Accredited Volunteer Centre.
The 2018 poppy tribute was aptly named 'Tears Of Victory', as the Tommy statue was decorated with an array of magnetic poppies, which was the brainchild of Beverley Rodden, who also strategically placed each one on the statue, from head to toe. The 309 knitted poppies were made by Beverley Jobey, 38, who is from Seaham and now lives in Hendon, and her partner Lee Dickeson, 27, over the last three months, with the flowers attached using magnets. Beverley has created poppy broaches to sell on behalf of the Royal British Legion in past years, with one of her flowers included in the time capsule which is buried beneath the artwork when it was given a permanent base in 2015, a year after it first went on show. She said: "I got in touch because this year I wanted to help commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War. "It's been a big effort. Now it's in place, it looks amazing."
Dave McKenna, of the Seaham Remember Them Fund, served as a Colour Sergeant in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.He said: "This year has been a real community participation effort and we've had lots of help from people who have painted pebbles. "We have a theme each year and this year's is tears of victory, so we're remembering the centenary, but also remembering those lost on both sides.
"We hope this highlights the work of the Poppy Appeal and the Royal British Legion, which supports our veterans and has done for almost 100 years, and helps them as they return to Civvy Street." Julie Griffiths and Tracey Slater, who run Murton Junior Club, took a group from the 30 children who helped paint pebbles and they played a part in laying down the stones earlier today. "They've been interested in the reason why we've been doing it and asking questions about it all," Julie said. "They know all about Tommy, so that's helped them as well." Tracey added: "It's been a real honour to be asked to help out.
"We've also been involved in the William McNally VC medal ceremony, so that's also helped the kids learn."
Last weekend, Murton residents gathered to unveil a new memorial to Sergeant McNally, who was given the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the First World War.
Seaham's poppy will remain in place for a fortnight, after which Dave plans to put out an announcement inviting people to collect a pebble to keep as a reminder of the work of the Royal British Legion. The piece was finished ahead of the official unveiling of the Seaham Field of Remembrance, a separate project, which recognises all men and women from the town lost in conflict or as part of the war effort and in preparation for the town's Remembrance Day parade.