Hartlepool Poppy Appeal organiser Sian Cameron has spoken of the “massive honour” of representing the town at two major Remembrance events in London at the weekend.
Sian was invited to take part in the Royal Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday night.
And on Remembrance Sunday, she also attended a special Armistice service at Westminster Abbey to mark 100 years since the end of fighting in the First World War.
Both events were attended by the Queen and other senior members of the Royal Family, and were also watched my millions on TV.
Sian, 36, who lives in Wolviston and runs the Poppy Appeal in Hartlepool, said: “It was an absolutely incredible experience.
“It was definitely a once in a lifetime sort of thing, especially with it being the centenary celebrations.
“It was just a massive honour. I kept having to pinch myself to be there surrounded by so many amazing people.
“I was really proud to be there representing Hartlepool and the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal, and of course my lovely dad.”
Sian took over the reins of Hartlepool’s Poppy Appeal from her dad Ian Cameron after he died eight years ago.
She was invited to represent the Hartlepool appeal at the national commemorations by the Royal British Legion.
At the Royal Festival of Remembrance, Sian and other Poppy Appeal representatives and workers from the factory that makes poppies, marched through the venue and into the central arena.
She added: “The response I received following the festival on Saturday was astonishing.
“So many people, some of whom I’ve never met, said how proud my dad would’ve been.”
Sunday’s service of remembrance at Westminster Abbey, also attended by Prime Minister Theresa May, was a more sombre occasion said Sian.
“It was a very poignant traditional church service,” she said. “Once again it was amazing to be surrounded by the great and the good and so many people who are all doing good things.”
Sian thanked her loyal team of Poppy Appeal volunteers and accommodation of her employers at NETA Training which meant she was able to go.
Hartlepool’s Heugh Gun Battery which played a key role in defending the town during the First World War was covered in poppies for remembrance thanks to a community group.
The Heugh Yarners had been hard at work once again for their annual poppy display.
It featured work recycled from previous years plus a new display of 100 poppies making a single red bloom on a grey scale background. Once again a poppy net was draped over the Sebastapol cannon.
Extra poppies were added bringing the total to 100 making a fitting tribute to this year’s Armistice centenary.
The gun battery also has a new addition in the shape of a First World War ‘Tommy’ silhouette statue.
Looking out to sea, the figure was bought by public donations after a crowdfunding appeal by Headland and Harbour Councillor Shane Moore as well as councillor ward budget contributions.