Sunderland tribute to heroes could reach a new milestone

Tom Cuthbertson, father of the late Nathan Cuthbertson, a Paratrooper who was killed on active duty in Afghanistan.
Tom Cuthbertson, father of the late Nathan Cuthbertson, a Paratrooper who was killed on active duty in Afghanistan.
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A moving memorial to heroes could reach a new milestone this year - if enough people come forward.

Around 150 stones have already been taken on the Veterans’ Walk, in Mowbray Park in Sunderland city centre.

The new Veteran's Walk pathway in Mowbray Park, Sunderland. Picture: TOM BANKS

The new Veteran's Walk pathway in Mowbray Park, Sunderland. Picture: TOM BANKS

But Ashbrooke man Tom Cuthbertson, a private in 2 Para for four years from 1988, and who was the brainchild of the project, is hoping to reach even more people this year.

He would love to see more than 200 stones taken in time for Remembrance Day.

The stones are there to recognise not just those who have fallen in service or passed away, but all those who dedicated part or all of their working career in the forces and took the Oath of Allegiance.

The third phase of the stone-laying programme is expected to be underway in time for November and Tom said: “We can hopefully take them past 200. If we could get another 50 names, that would be something.”

This is a permanent lasting reminder that is going to be there for all the years to come. Hopefully, we can push it past that 200 mark for November

Tom Cuthbertson

Tom was followed into the same regiment by his sons, Connan and Nathan. Nathan, also a private, was just 19 when he was one of three paratroopers killed in June 8, 2008, when a lone insurgent detonated an explosive in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The idea is that each contains the name of someone who has put their life on the line as they served their country, and not just those who lost their lives.

It’s not just people on Wearside who have bought the stones which cost £249 Others from Coventry, Nottingham and Canada have taken them.

The walkway has been backed by the Friends of Mowbray Park, and Tom added: “This is a permanent lasting reminder that is going to be there for all the years to come. Hopefully, we can push it past that 200 mark for November.”

The new Veteran's Walk pathway in Mowbray Park, Sunderland. Picture: TOM BANKS

The new Veteran's Walk pathway in Mowbray Park, Sunderland. Picture: TOM BANKS

Tom was also part a team of friends and family who gathered together to set up the Brothers in Arms wall in 2011, with the walkway proposed as that remembered those lost.

Sunderland is the largest provider of armed forces recruits and is home to more than 26,000 surviving personnel.

Anyone interested in adding a name can find out more via www.veteranswalk.co.uk or contact Rob on 07771 864 690 or Tom on 07951 853 128.