Seaham's Remembrance crosses to be turned into ash in moving ceremony

Part of the Line of Reconciliation on Seaham's Terrace Green.
Part of the Line of Reconciliation on Seaham's Terrace Green.
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Lines of crosses left in tribute to war heroes are to be turned into ash during a ceremony as a town's tribute efforts come to a close.

Seaham Town Council estimates up to two thousand wooden crosses have been placed in the two Lines of Reconciliation either side of the cenotaph on the Terrace Green in the run up to Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.

Now, the council has decided it will bring its Poppy Appeal to a close on Monday night, with a ceremony where those who have laid crosses will be invited back to add their cross to fire pits, with the starter flame to be taken from the V for victory beacon which was made by the council.

The remaining ash will then be collected up and taken to be scattered on war graves, with the site of the Battle of the Somme among the suggested location.

Its leaders have said they are happy to have other places put forward by families.

Mayor Bruce Burn said: "There were discussions about how this could be sensitively de-constructed when the time came and opinions were voiced that we should have some sort of ceremony where the crosses were reduced to ashes.

"It will be done in the vicinity of the cenotaph and we are expected a good crowd.

"These are people's memories and they have left messages on them.

"A lot of people from Seaham were lost in the Somme."

A temporary shop was set up in Byron Place shopping centre to sell the crosses and display information gathered by Seaham Family History Group, screen films and collect donations for the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.

A coast run also invited competitors to add crosses to the line, with the display providing the backdrop to Wednesday's Armistice Day gathering at 11am.

It saw veterans, residents and schoolchildren mark a two minute silence.

Monday's ceremony will be held at 7pm.