SEAHAM’S Tommy statue will be the focal point of the town’s World War One centenary celebrations.
Monday’s run of events have been in the pipeline as part of the town council’s plans to put the Eleven ‘O’ One sculpture on show from the end of May.
Now, in addition to the programme, the town will mark the purchase of the steel structure thanks to a community campaign.
The piece is based on a First World War soldier slumped in the first moments after peacetime is called, and inspired by the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder many suffered after witnessing the horrors of conflict.
The Mission 1101 campaigners, who led the efforts to cover the £85,000 cost of the piece with the support of Seaham Town Council, business backers and community groups, have been invited to attend, with the group on hand to sell Tommy merchandise to boost the funds.
The event starts at 11am with a military march down Church Street and the opening of an exhibition by East Durham Artists’ Network.
The march will then lead to Terrace Green, where performances will be held throughout the day and night including war time songs and poems. At 10pm, a candlelight vigil will be held as part of the Lights Out campaign, a national effort led by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s 14-18 NOW programme and supported by the Royal British Legion.
Deputy town clerk Paul Fletcher said: “The event is aimed to be a relaxed enjoyable family picnic day out enjoying our beautiful seafront with the cenotaph and sculpture Tommy also being a focal point of the event on the Terrace Green.
“The event will become more serious and emotive as the day draws to a close and darkness sets in and music and lighting on the Terrace Green will become more sombre as we build up to the candlelit vigil around the cenotaph at 10pm. It is really important families mark this milestone in our history so the next generation are educated about the war, and also to honour those that gave their lives for our freedom.”