Hundreds gather to pay tribute to Seaham's fallen

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The weather could not deter the crowds who turned out to for Seaham's Remembrance service this morning.

The planned gathering at the town's seafront cenotaph was moved to St John's Church at short notice as bitterly wind and rain swept in from the North Sea.

Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Durham Derek Winter, Mayor of Seaham Coun Bruce Burn and Easington MP Grahame Morris laid wreathes before representatives of local armed forces groups, emergency services and community organisations paid their tribute.

Members of the town's Royal British Legion later laid the wreathes at the cenotaph.

Branch chairman Gary Dodds said the decision to move the service indoors had been the right one.

"We have a lot of older members of various associations present and younger members of the public," he said.

"We carried out a risk assessment in light of the weather and decided it had to be St John's. I am chairman of the branch, I have to make the decision and I decided it was not goiujng to go ahead at the sea-front.

"For the last 20-odd years we have been fortunate with the weather, but not today."

This morning's service marked the last in an official capacity for Parade Marshall John Anderson, who has been in charge of the proceedings for the last eight years.

A painful hip problem has forced John to pass on the baton.

"I did everything in the Army - boxing, swimming, rock-climbing, fell-walking - but it has all started to catch up with me," he said.

Mayor Bruce Burn was delighted with the number of people who had braved the elements to join the service.

"I have been very pleased with the turn-out for all the events we have organised to allow people to pay their respects," he said.

"We have had a number of events that have been very well-attended by children, young people and members of the public.

"Everybody has been able to pay their repsects and consider reconcoliation."