New memorial unveiled to fallen Sunderland hero John Amer as part of Remembrance commemorations

Cris Watson Hope, of Ryhope Community Spirit, with Joan Amer, Sgt Amer's mum, his uncle Jimmy Usher and three-year-old Issac Amer, the soldier's nephew.
Cris Watson Hope, of Ryhope Community Spirit, with Joan Amer, Sgt Amer's mum, his uncle Jimmy Usher and three-year-old Issac Amer, the soldier's nephew.
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A new memorial has been dedicated to the memory of a Sunderland solider killed while on duty in Afghanistan to mark Armistice Day.

Acting Sergeant John Amer, of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, died on November 2009 as a result of an explosion in the Helmand province.

Acting Sergeant John Paxton Amer of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, who died in Afghanistan in 2009.

Acting Sergeant John Paxton Amer of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, who died in Afghanistan in 2009.

The 30-year-old from Ryhope, who attended Southmoor School, had paraded at Buckingham Palace and spent time in the Falklands, Germany and in Northern Ireland.

His family gathered with members of the community to mark Armistice Day at the foot of the village’s war memorial and unveil a bench in his honour.

The addition to the village green has been paid for thanks to the work of Ryhope Community Spirit, with the bench draped in poppies knitted by residents.

One will be kept and put in a memory box which has been put together by his family.

It will be seven years since his death at the end of this month and it is nice to know he is still remembered.

Joan Amer

His mum Joan, 59, was among his loved ones who joined in the ceremony, which featured the Ode of Remembrance, a two minute silence and the national anthem.

She said: “I can’t thank people enough and I would like to thank everybody that has helped make the bench and got it here.

“I didn’t expect this many people to be here.

“It will be seven years since his death at the end of this month and it is nice to know he is still remembered.”

The family of Acting Sergeant John Amer gather around the new bench in Ryhope.

The family of Acting Sergeant John Amer gather around the new bench in Ryhope.

Sgt Amer’s uncle, Jimmy Usher, 56, of Silksworth, helped put the finishing touches to the decorated bench by fixing a plaque acknowledging his nephew’s sacrifice.

Jimmy also read a reading during the ceremony, led by Reverend David Chadwick of St Paul’s in Ryhope.

“We want to thank Rev David and all those from Ryhope Community Spirit, because it means a lot to the family.”

Cris Watson Hope said: “We wanted this bench to remember the soldiers from our community and Sgt Amer’s family got in touch and asked if we would also dedicate it to him.

The plaque on the new bench dedicated to Coldstream Guard Sgt John Amer.

The plaque on the new bench dedicated to Coldstream Guard Sgt John Amer.

“It feels like a big honour for us to be able to do that and his relatives are so happy.”

The the wake of his death the Army said: “Sergeant Amer was a huge personality and a natural soldier.
“He was loved by his men, respected by his seniors, and cherished by all.

“Whether on parade at Buckingham Palace, teaching recruits in training, socialising in the mess or, most recently, training his platoon and leading his multiple on complex counter-insurgency operations, Sgt Amer was the consummate professional.

“He was the epitome of a modern, caring, intelligent and hugely courageous Senior Non-Commissioned Officer and he was forever a Coldstreamer.”

Southmoor Academy has previously named its library in honour of Sgt Amer.