SUNDERLAND showed its respect for those who have fought and died for their country.
Thousands turned out in chilly but bright weather as 300 members of the armed forces joined together with veterans, for the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial in Burdon Road.
Music was provided by the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment and by the Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band, which led the parade from Sunderland Civic Centre.
The traditional two-minute silence at 11am was impeccably observed by young and old, before readings by veterans and serving forces personnel.
Other units taking part included HMS Ocean crew, The Light Dragoons and those from RAF Leeming.
Sunderland veteran Len Gibson, who was a member of the 125 Anti Tank Regiment Royal Artillery and a prisoner of war on the Death Railway, proudly recited the Far Eastern Prisoner of War prayer before laying a wreath
“I think today has been marvellous,” said the 92-year-old afterwards.
“I’m so happy to see so many people here, and a lot of them have special reasons for turning out.”
Families of young Wearside men killed in recent conflicts were there.
Tom and Carla Cuthbertson, parents of Nathan Cuthbertson – who died at just 19 in a suicide attack in Afghanistan in 2008 – laid wreaths at the War Memorial.
They were joined by their younger son Connan, 18, a member of 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment based in Colchester, Essex.
Former para Tom, 43, of Tunstall, said: “It’s a poignant day for us and always is.
“It’s great to see so many people get up early on a Sunday and turn out immaculately dressed.”
Carla, 40, said: “I think every year there seems to be more support for the service from the general public in Sunderland and it’s brilliant.”
Janice Murray, mum of Private Michael Tench, who died aged 18 in 2007 in Iraq, while serving in The Light Infantry, also laid a wreath.
Ms Murray, 50, of Concord, said: “It’s a massive show of respect from the city and we are grateful for their warmth.”
Veteran pals Jim Arthur and Archie Sykes, who served in the Royal Navy, come into Sunderland every year to see the service.
“It’s been a good turnout,” said 93-year-old Mr Arthur, a former petty officer.
The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Iain Kay, said: “For any mayor of Sunderland to be asked to take part in the Remembrance Service is a fantastic honour.
“The sheer enthusiasm and warmth from the crowds was great today. I think Wearside’s DNA has a connection with the Army and the Navy as well as the Air Force.”
Broadcaster and former war reporter Kate Adie was back in her home city for the event.
“It’s been a wonderful turnout,” she said.
“The service is such a big thing for the city and there are all kinds of organisations here.”