Poppy pebble to surround Seaham's Tommy statue once again in tribute to war heroes

Tommy will once again be at the centre of a Remembrance Day display as the seafront statue which has made Seaham world famous is decorated in tribute to service men and women lost in conflict.

Friday, 2nd November 2018, 1:05 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd November 2018, 1:08 pm
Dave McKenna with a previous pebble and shell display created in front of the Tommy statue by the Seaham Remember Then Fund.

The foot of the Ray Lonsdale artwork has been the focus of a temporary show ready for November 11 for the last few years, with pebbles painted red and sea shells used in previous installations.This year, Seaham Remember Them is planning on adding 2,000 red pebbles at the base of the monument, which shows a First World War soldier in the moment the fight comes to an end, but the team is keeping the full plan under wraps, with the promise of an poignant addition to those who lost their lives.

The display will begin to come together from 8am on Sunday and it is hoped it will be finished by 10am, an hour ahead of the official unveiling of the Seaham Field of Remembrance, which is a separate project where 900 resin poppies adorned with the names of men and women lost through the war effort have been attached to the fence facing out onto the North Sea.

Dave McKenna with a previous pebble and shell display created in front of the Tommy statue by the Seaham Remember Then Fund.

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Dave McKenna, of the Seaham Remember Them Fund, is leading the new display, which will be in place until a week after Remembrance Sunday, November 11.

He has overseen the previous efforts, which have created a focus for the town in the time surrounding Armistice Day.Dave, who served as a Colour Sergeant in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, said: “This will be another pebble poppy, but it will be different and we want it to have an element of surprise.

“We have had huge support from the community who have really got involved and we especially want to shine a light on the Poppy Appeal because it’s the centenary of the end of the First World War.”

He added his thanks to the town’s Air Cadet unit, East Durham Trust, Ropery Walk Primary School, as well as individual members of the community for their support in putting together the plans.

Volunteers pictured in 2016 with painted stones from the beach at Seaham and made a poppy next to the Tommy statue, left to right Andrew Harrison, Philip Ridley, Dave Routlledge, Tracy Spencer, Alex Tinkler and Dave McKenna.

The organisation, which hosted the Sounding of the Retreat on the Terrace Green back in September and works to look after war memorials across the town, is also planning on holding a ceremony at 6am on November 11, recognising the moment the moment the Armistice was signed before it came into affect at 11am.

Houghton-le-Spring Pipe Band will perform When The Battle is Over, also known as The Battle’s O’er.

The town’s branch of the Royal British Legion will lead its 11am Remembrance Day parade from the Lord Londonderry statue on North Terrace, along the road and round Terrace Green before taking a position in front of the cenotaph for a service.