THE memory of a fallen Wearside hero will live on among young people in the city.
Southmoor Academy has renamed its library the Sgt John Amer Reading Suite, in memory of the Ryhope soldier killed in Afghanistan.
Sgt Amer, a former pupil at the Ryhope Road school, was just 30 when he was killed as he tried to help an injured comrade in the Helmand Province in 2009.
Since his death the school has forged strong links with Sgt Amer’s family, the Army Benevolent Fund, ABF, and the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, his regiment, to help educate pupils about the sacrifices members of the armed forces make.
The school has raised more than £3,000 for the ABF, through non-uniform days and the sales of military charity wristbands and they vow to carry on fund-raising in his memory.
Jon Nicholson, deputy headteacher at the academy, said they are incredibly proud of Sgt Amer, who was married with a young daughter, and want to make sure his memory and the sacrifice he made are always remembered.
He said: “We had some refurbishment in the reception of the school where John’s citations were and started to think about where was the best place to put them. We decided that we would rename our reading suite after him.
“It is a fitting tribute to John and his memory.
“The young people who come in here will see John every day.
“We will never forget him.”
The teacher said the students are very keen to support the ABF and raise money and they are always hugely respectful, especially during the week of assemblies the school holds to mark Remembrance Day, which Sgt Amer’s mum, Joan, attends.
A special ceremony, attended by Sgt Amer’s family and members of the Coldstream Guards, was held to officially open the Sgt John Amer Reading Suite and the latest money raised by the school, £1,200, was handed over to Major Eric Ingram, regional chairman of the ABF.
Joan, 57, said: “It’s a very emotional day.
“It is absolutely fantastic what the school has done.
“He would be over the moon, he’d be so proud of this. I am still so proud of him and there’s not a day goes by where I don’t think of him.”
John’s uncle, Jimmy Usher, 52, added: “John was a wonderful young lad, always happy-go-lucky and we really appreciate the school keeping his memory alive.
“It’s a real honour having the library named after him.”