Students honour victims of Afghanistan war

Sunderland College students and staff, including Paul Wastell (second left), with WO1 Karl Dewing.
Sunderland College students and staff, including Paul Wastell (second left), with WO1 Karl Dewing.
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Servicemen and women who lost their lives in the Afghanistan conflict are being honoured on Wearside.

Sunderland College students and staff have unveiled a plaque to remember and honour the 453 armed forces personnel who lost their lives during the 13-year war.

We felt it was important to show our respect for the people who died.

Abbi Wilson

Organised by the college’s Student Council and enrichment team, a commemoration service was held at the Washington Campus.

Abbi Wilson, 17, chairman of the student council, said: “We felt it was important to show our respect for the people who died. So many people in the armed forces give up their lives for us, and the memorial service and plaque are symbols of how grateful we are to them.”

The students decided to organise the memorial service after hearing the experiences of their lecturer Paul Wastell, a former Royal Marine Commando.

Paul, who took part in a tour of Afghanistan in 2001, said: “The organisation of the event has been a tremendous effort by our students and I’m really proud of them.

“I lost quite a few friends who I served with and it was really poignant for me to remember them in this way.”

Warrant Officer 1 Karl Dewing, from the Royal Navy, was guest of honour at the service, which was led by college chaplain Ros Jackson, and featured poems, readings, prayers by students and a solo performance of Ave Maria.