Hundreds of people turned out as Seaham paid tribute to its armed forces personnel past and present.
The seafront was packed for the third annual Beating the Retreat ceremony, which took place in the shadow of the town’s Tommy statue.
Youngsters from the town’s combined cadet forces were inspected by dignitaries including Easington MP Grahame Morris and Mayor of Seaham Coun Barbara Allen, before the crowds were entertained by music and marching from Houghton-le-Spring Pipes and Drum Band and the Borneo Band and Bugles, accompanied by fireworks.
Military Beating of the Retreat has a long tradition dating back to the 1690s. The beating of the drum was used to order troops to break off fighting and withdraw to the safety of camp as darkness fell.
For Coun Allen, the ceremony was one of the highlights of her year wearing the chain of office: “It is a real honour to come down,” she said.
“Everything that goes on in Seaham is brilliant for me.”
Grahame Morris said the ceremony was a way to acknowledge the deep and abiding relationship between the town and the armed forces.
“I think it is really important,” he said.
“It cements our links with the armed forces community.
“The forces recruit very heavily from the area. There is a real bond between the community and the forces.”
Organiser Dave McKenna was delighted with the turn-out: “Hopefully we can get better and better every year,” he said.