‘Tommy Poppy’ tribute returns to Seaham as part of Remembrance commemorations

Volunteers who painted stones from the beach at Seaham and made a poppy next to the Tommy statue in 2016, l-r Andrew Harrison, Philip Ridley, Dave Routlledge, Tracy Spencer, Alex Tinkler and Dave McKenna
Volunteers who painted stones from the beach at Seaham and made a poppy next to the Tommy statue in 2016, l-r Andrew Harrison, Philip Ridley, Dave Routlledge, Tracy Spencer, Alex Tinkler and Dave McKenna

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.

Veterans and walkers from East Durham Trust's Walk Together� project funded by County Durham  Community Foundation arrive at a East Durham College - complete with bagpipes and flags - having walked from Shotton War Memorials.. Picture: Tom Banks

Veterans and walkers from East Durham Trust's Walk Together� project funded by County Durham Community Foundation arrive at a East Durham College - complete with bagpipes and flags - having walked from Shotton War Memorials.. Picture: Tom Banks

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.

David McKenna is presented with some poppy pebbles by Alan Miller of the East Durham Trust. Picture: Tom Banks

David McKenna is presented with some poppy pebbles by Alan Miller of the East Durham Trust. Picture: Tom Banks

“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.

David McKenna is presented with some poppy pebbles by Alan Miller of the East Durham Trust. Picture: Tom Banks

David McKenna is presented with some poppy pebbles by Alan Miller of the East Durham Trust. Picture: Tom Banks

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.