Couple use Seaham soldier sculpture for wedding pictures backdrop

HAPPY DAY: Sarah Russell and her husband Billy Teasdale pictured next to the artwork.
HAPPY DAY: Sarah Russell and her husband Billy Teasdale pictured next to the artwork.
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SAY cheese! A Seaham sculpture was made guest of honour for a couple’s wedding album shoot.

When Sarah and Billy Teasdale, from Silksworth, saw Seaham’s Eleven ‘O’ One sculpture they knew it would have to feature in the pictures from their special day.

Sarah, nee Russell, works for Martino’s in Seaburn, and the couple’s celebrations were held at the Italian eaterie’s sister restaurant in North Railway Street, Seaham.

The sculpture, by Ray Lonsdale, was originally planned to be on show in the town for three months, but a campaign is underway to buy it so it can stay at Terrace Green permanently.

Sarah said: “We didn’t know how long the statue was going to be there for and we thought if it was in our photos it would be something we would be able to show our children and grandchildren as well.”

Billy, 30, who works for Calsonic Kansei in Washington, and Sarah, have been together for five years after meeting on a blind date at Sunderland’s Roker Hotel.

A photo of the couple at the statue was put on Facebook and has proved a hit with their friends and fans of the steel sculpture.

Sarah, 26, added: “We can’t believe the response we’ve been getting on Facebook, just from one photo.”

Brian Hurst, who runs Briden Photography, took the shots.

He said: “As soon as they had seen it, they said they’d like to have their photos taken with it, but we didn’t realise we were going to be the first to do it. It just made something different for them.”

The Mission 1101 campaign to raise £85,000 to buy the 9.5ft statue, nicknamed Tommy, is almost over, with a £20,000 deposit already paid to its creator.

Seaham Town Council agreed to make the payment on behalf of the campaigners through its accounts so the VAT can be claimed back, reducing its price from £102,000.

Donations to the campaign to keep the statue can be found via