UNION members have paid a touching tribute to teachers who died during the Great War.
A group of 18 members of northern branches of the NUT, National Union of Teachers, including Wearside and Durham, travelled to Ypres to visit the battlefields and commemorative sites.
More than 180 NUT members from the North East gave their lives in the conflict, including eight from Sunderland schools, six from Houghton schools, 18 from schools in County Durham and 10 from Chester-le-Street.
Many local NUT members fought with the Durham Light Infantry or the Northumberland Fusiliers.
While in Ypres the Durham teachers took part in the Last Post Ceremony to missing soldiers at the Menin Gate memorial and laid a wreath in remembrance of NUT members who died while serving in the First World War. Commemorated there were 15 teachers who had fought and died with the DLI and who had taught at schools throughout Durham.
The group also visited a number of other sites including Tyne Cot Cemetery, the Memorial to the 50th Division which fought at Ypres in 1915, which comprised the regiments of the DLI and Northumberland Fusiliers amongst others, and Passchendaele Memorial Museum.
Also during their trip, which was organised through the International Trust for Peace Education, the group went to the European Parliament and shared with the North East Euro MEP, Fiona Hall, their concerns over aspects of the current government’s education programme.
Yvonne Noble, association secretary of a Durham branch of the NUT, said: “I am so pleased that the NUT was able to give members from around the northern region the opportunity to visit the commemorative and battle sites and to have visited the European Parliament. Personally I found it a great honour to learn more about the sacrifice of NUT members during the First World War.
“The visit was also a fantastic opportunity to meet with other teachers at different stages of their careers, to make links and to discuss with them the issues facing education.
“It was a very moving and positive experience and I am proud to have been part of it.”