IIT’S official – Tommy is a permanent resident of Seaham.
The cash for the Eleven ‘O’ One sculpture of a First World War soldier has been handed over to its creator Ray Lonsdale.
The presentation was part of a day dedicated to marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict.
Last week the Echo reported that the Mission 1101 campaign group had hit their target to raise £85,000 to buy the steel artwork, which has captured the hearts of townsfolk and visitors.
The final gap in the funding was filled via £18,000 donated by Seaham Town and Durham County Councillors Eddie and Jenny Bell, Sonia Foster, Sue Morrison and Geraldine Bleasdale via their county council neighbourhood funds.
Ray, the council and Mission 1101 campaign members, are now looking at creating a plinth to put the 9.5ft-high sculpture on to give it a permanent foundation and to protect the ground around it.
The authority will also be taking on the responsibility of insuring the artwork, which has been nicknamed Tommy by its fans.
A time capsule could also be buried beneath the structure.
David Stewart, chairman of the Mission 1101 committee, said: “It’s just been amazing, the fact that people have come together from the community and put in that much effort to get to where we are.
“I still can’t believe it and have to pinch myself from time to time and look at the bank account to make sure I haven’t done the sums wrong.
“It has been incredible. People say there is a sense of community that has not been seen since before the mines were closed.”
Today’s event to mark the declaration of the First World War, which was organised by the town council, was launched with a parade along Church Street to Terrace Green, making a stop at East Durham Artists’ Networks before performances of music and theatre on the Terrace Green and a picnic.
A candlelight vigil is due to be held at the site tonight as part of the Lights Out campaign, a national effort led by the Government and supported by the Royal British Legion.
Dalton-le-Dale also held its World War I commemoration events through the weekend and featured an art exhibition, service, unveiling of a plaque and a war-themed evening of entertainment.