Salute to the fallen as Seaham pays its respects on Remembrance Sunday
A salute has been given by veterans as they carried out a 24-hour vigil in the shadow of Seaham’s cenotaph and Tommy memorial in the lead up to Remembrance Sunday.
It began at 11am on Saturday, November 7, and came to a close at 11am on Sunday, November 8, when a moment of silence would have fallen during the annual Royal British Legion memorial service, which is usually attended by hundreds of people.
The idea came about after the coronavirus pandemic meant no events could be held, with Dave McKenna, of the Seaham Remember Them Fund, co-ordinating the effort.
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The name was inspired by the term ‘On stag’ which is is a British Army term for sentry duty, with the changing of personnel on the hour as they gave a salute to the cenotaph, with the vigil helping to mark the approach to Armistice Day while sticking to social distancing rules.
While the usual creative display laid out around the base of Ray Lonsdale’s Tommy sculpture had to be cancelled to prevent people from gathering, Dave is already thinking ahead to next year’s project and other ways to help the town pay its respects.
Dave, who served as a Colour Sergeant in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and is a Seaham Town Council member, said: “The public responded to it and been positive, people have understood it wasn’t going to be the usual service or anything else which could normally be done.
"It’s something we wanted to carry out to still raise funds for the Poppy Appeal, which has really suffered because of the coronavirus.
"It’s been good to be able to do the Relief in Place, where we have saluted the cenotaph and that has drawn people’s attention and we’ve had a lot of photographers around who have taken photos as we changed on the hour."
Anyone who would like to add funds to the Poppy Appeal through the Stag on in Remembrance project can make a donation via www.gofundme.com/f/stag-on-in-remembrance.