Armistice Day silence in the shadow of Seaham's Tommy statue
Crowds turned out to pay their respects to the Fallen in the shadow of Seaham’s iconic seafront Tommy statue.
The town held a service to mark Armistice Day today, Thursday, November 1, with the two-minute silence at 11am impeccably observed.
Easington Mp Grahame Morris, Mayor of Seaham Coun Leanne Kennedy and Dawdon county councillor Kevin Shaw were among those taking part.
Members of the North East Military Vehicles Association were also in attendance, with around half a dozen vintage vehicles on display on the Terrace Green.
While the Royal British Legion oversees the town’s Remembrance Sunday activities, former serviceman Dave McKenna has been organising a seafront Armistice Day service for around ten years and has seen attendances rocket.
He was particularly pleased with this year’s attendance: “It was great,” said Dave.
"We played the Last Post then observed the two-minutes’ silence. We had fantastic support from the public. The turn-out was brilliant.
Dave said the growth of support for both the Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day services in recent years had been amazing: The attendance must have trebled, if not more so, since we started doing it,” he said.
Dave believes the arrival of Tommy, coupled with events to mark the Centenary of the First World War, sparked a resurgence locally in people recognising the importance of remembering those who gave their lives for their country and its freedom.
"I think a lot of it has to do with all the things that were going on to commemorate the anniversary and the installation of Tommy,” he said.
"A lot of people twigged that we need to remember.
"I think that Tommy, in particular, has been the key to the success of what has happened over the last few years. There were a lot of people this morning stopping to have their photos taken – there were people who had come all the way from Bristol today,” said Dave.
Local veterans will pay their own particular tribute from 11am on Saturday, taking turns to stand watch at Tommy for an hour each in the 24 hours leading up the Remembrance Sunday silence.