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School library named in memory of fallen Sunderland hero John Amer

Captain Graeme Hall chairman Army Benevolent Fund North East recives a cheque from the school council at Southmoor Academy, Sunderland with relatives of Sgt. John  Amer, a former pupil who was killed in Afghanistan, including his mum Joan (right).

Captain Graeme Hall chairman Army Benevolent Fund North East recives a cheque from the school council at Southmoor Academy, Sunderland with relatives of Sgt. John Amer, a former pupil who was killed in Afghanistan, including his mum Joan (right).

YOUNG people are keeping the memory of a fallen Wearside war hero alive by helping his former brothers in arms.

Not only has Sunderland’s Southmoor Academy renamed its library the Sgt John Amer Reading Suite, it is also continuing to fund-raise for the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) in his memory.

Sgt Amer, a former pupil at the Ryhope Road school, was killed as he tried to help an injured comrade in the Helmand Province in 2009.

Since the death of the 30-year-old, the school has forged strong links with Sgt Amer’s family, the ABF and his unit, the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards, to help educate pupils about the sacrifices members of the armed forces make.

Capt Graeme Hall, of the ABF, went along to the school to accept its latest cheque, for £814. The cash was raised through non-uniform days and selling charity wristbands.

The total donated by Southmoor Academy now stands at almost £4,000.

Capt Hall also met members of the school council and Sgt Amer’s family.

Jon Nicholson, deputy headteacher at the school, said staff there are incredibly proud of Sgt Amer, who was married with a young daughter, and of the way the current pupils are determined to honour him.

He said: “It is a lot of money for the young people to raise, especially in this economic climate, but they really want to do it. They are so determined.

“Some of our students are going to Catterick Garrison so they can see for themselves where the ABF money goes and meet the soldiers who have been injured and see the medical equipment which is helping them.”

Sgt Amer’s family still live in Ryhope and his mum Joan is a regular visitor to the academy, including attending its remembrance service, along with serving members of the Coldstream Guards.

Mr Nicholson said: “It is always a very emotional day, but our students are so respectful that you could hear a pin drop throughout the service.”

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