Flag flies over Sunderland in honour of Merchant Navy Day
The Red Ensign has been raised over Sunderland in tribute to former and serving merchant seamen.
People from across the city were invited to join in the civic tributes at Sunderland Civic Centre as part of Merchant Navy Day, as mayor Councillor Lynda Scanlan led the ceremony.
She was joined by guests including the Deputy Lieutenant for Tyne of Wear, Major Eric Ingram MBE, DL and Captain Stephen Healy from national maritime welfare charity, Trinity House.
Following on from her welcome speech, the Deputy Lieutenant read out a message from HRH The Earl of Wessex, who is the President of Seafarers UK which raises funds to help seafarers and their families in need.
Captain Healy, of Trinity House, followed by saying a few words about the Merchant Navy, and the service and sacrifice of all those who have sailed under the Red Ensign.
A minute's silence was then held before the flag was raised.
Sunderland City Council supported the event, which was organised by national charity Seafarers UK, to help raise public awareness of the Merchant Navy's massive contribution to the life of the 'island nation' of Great Britain.
Merchant Navy Day was first held in 2000, with the 'Fly the Red Ensign' campaign launched in 2015 to remind people of its national significance and encourage their support.
Sunderland was one of many local authorities across the country invited to raise the flag in support of Merchant Navy Day, and is will be the fourth consecutive year the Red Ensign has been raised outside the Civic Centre in commemorative celebration of the event.
Coun Scanlan said: "Sunderland has a very proud naval tradition and maritime heritage, and I am very honoured and proud to represent the people of our city at this event and raise the famous Red Ensign on their behalf.
"This is a community which recognises and appreciates the contribution made by the Merchant Navy to all our lives, as so many people from it have served in the merchant marine.
Chairman of Sunderland Armed Forces Network, Graham Hall added: "Not only this country but the world owes a historic debt of gratitude to the Merchant Navy, for keeping the supply routes open to the Allies through treacherous seas and dark times.
"Many of those who have served, and continue to serve in the merchant marine, have a significant impact on all our lives, and sometimes their bravery goes un-recognised and un-remembered which is why Merchant Navy Day is so important."