Lest we forget

COMMUNITIES fell silent to remember fallen and active servicemen and women.

People across Hartlepool and east Durham gathered to pay their respects to the sacrifice of past and present members of the Armed Forces during a series of poignant Remembrance Sunday services and parades.

Remembrance Sunday at Victory Square, Hartlepool.

Remembrance Sunday at Victory Square, Hartlepool.

In Hartlepool, more than 1,500 people braved the drizzly weather to watch a touching ceremony at Victory Square, in Victoria Road, while a similar service was held at the war memorial in Redheugh Gardens on the Headland.

In the town centre event, a parade featuring young cadets, serving forces members and veterans proceeded from Market Square to Victoria Road before a service conducted by the Reverend Val Towler, of St George’s United Reformed Church.

Rev Towler told the crowds: “This is a special time set aside to enable us all to remember the dedication and sacrifice of those who served in our Armed Forces during the First World War and those that have followed.

“We are here to honour them and to be inspired by them to work for peace.”

The Last Post was played and standard-bearers lowered their flags ready for a two-minute silence at 11am.

Various dignitaries including Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, the town’s mayor Stuart Drummond and Hartlepool Borough Council chairman, Councillor Carl Richardson, laid wreaths at the memorial.

This was followed by representatives from numerous organisations including the Royal Naval Association, Durham Light Infantry Association, Royal Air Forces Association, Army Cadet Force, Boys and Girls Brigades, Scouts, Salvation Army and the Red Cross Association laying wreaths.

The service was followed by a march-past and salute as crowds who lined Victoria Road applauded.

Mr Wright told the Hartlepool Mail: “This is the most important day of my year as an MP.

“To recognise the sacrifices that have been made by the town’s men and women in all conflicts means the world to me.”

Mayor Drummond said: “I think this was probably the best turn-out we have seen at Victory Square. “I’m fortunate enough every year to be in a position to lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Hartlepool and it’s one of the most enjoyable and proudest things that I do in my job.”

Other services were held across east Durham, including in Peterlee, Horden, Blackhall, Hesleden, Shotton Colliery, Wingate, Easington Village, Easington Colliery and Hutton Henry.

The Mayor of Peterlee, Councillor John Hardy, attended Peterlee’s service at St Cuthbert’s Church and took a salute.

Mayor Hardy, who served as a soldier with the Royal Engineers in the 1960s and 1970s, said: “It was a very well-attended parade and again Peterlee GT Band did magnificently.”

l Mail view: Page 8

l More pictures in tomorrow’s Mail