New-look Durham war memorial takes centre stage

Please credit ''John Attle of Durham Photographic Society

Please credit ''John Attle of Durham Photographic Society

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A WAR memorial is back on display after a 30-year refurbishment project.

The Durham Light Infantry First World War Memorial, at Durham Cathedral, has featured in an Armistice Day ceremony for the first time in three decades.

The monument, which was kept under cover during stone renewal work, was unveiled on Armistice Day during a visit from the 18th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry, also known as the Durham Pals.

The group re-create the life of soldiers in the 18th Battalion during the Great War.

They were joined by pupils from the Chorister School as the part of the school’s annual Armistice Day commemoration.

More than 200 pupils from Sunderland primary schools, who took part in a rehearsal for a cathedral music outreach programme, joined them in observing the traditional two minutes’ silence in honour of fallen service personnel.

Geoff Brown, from Durham Pals, said: “It is our aim to commemorate the lives of those from Durham who fought in the Great War and I can think of no better way than parading in the uniform of 18 DLI, The Durham Pals, at the memorial raised in their honour.

“It has not been seen by the people of Durham for 30 years and I was really proud to participate in the special event.”

The memorial refurbishment was part of a bigger renovation project, which saw extensive improvements made to the East End of the cathedral.

Because the historic landmark is made of standstone, it is vulnerable to the elements.

Its location on a hill also means it is regularly hit by high winds and rain.

The cathedral’s team of masons work with stone that is sourced locally and is “geologically” the same as that used in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Yard foreman Iain Wilmshurst said: “I have worked at Durham Cathedral for 37 years, initially as an apprentice achieving my mason qualification in 1978.

“I remember when the project started and the hoarding went up.

“It is fantastic to see it removed and the full aspect of the East End unwrapped.”

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