Poignant tribute

The Armistice Day service underway at English Martyrs school.
The Armistice Day service underway at English Martyrs school.

YOUNG and old came together to remember the sacrifices made by Hartlepool’s servicemen and women during poignant Armistice Day tributes.

English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Catcote Road, held a special ceremony attended by dozens of staff and pupils.

The school held the service at 11.11am to coincide with the date, November 11, 2011.

Staff, pupils, members of the school council and chaplain Anne Marie Lavelle observed the two-minute silence at the flag pole outside the front of the building.

The short service is held every year, but this year was a little different as 16-year-old Thomas White was invited to play the Last Post on a cornet.

The Union Flag was lowered to half-mast during the ceremony.

Meanwhile, inside the main building each class had a prayer and two-minute silence.

Martine Crilley, director of sixth form studies at the college, said: “We felt it would be poignant to hold the ceremony at 11.11am to coincide with the date.

“We hold a service every year but this year was particularly special as we had Thomas playing the cornet.

“The flag was lowered as he played the Last Post.

“It was a fitting mark of respect to those servicemen and women from town who make the ultimate sacrifice.”

Michael Lee, headteacher at the school, also attended the service, which saw a number of pupils don their Boys Brigade, Scout, Sea Cadet, Air Training Corps and Girl Guide uniforms.

Elsewhere a short ceremony held at the Victory Square monument was attended by civic dignitaries including Mayor Stuart Drummond and chairman of the council, Labour councillor Carl Richardson.

Residents, councillors and Hartlepool Borough Council staff all gathered to pay their respects.

Ex-servicemen and women were all invited to parade together with their standards.

Businesses across town also took time out to hold a two-minute silence, as did shoppers inside the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

At Hartlepool College of Further Education, in Stockton Street, students joined two dozen veterans from the Royal British Legion to pay their respects.

Around 240 people packed into a lecture theatre.

Students left messages on a poppy to hang on a 12ft stainless steel tree set it up especially for the day.

A college spokesman said: “It was a very emotional and poignant morning.”