Seaham’s Tommy statue has another stunning Remembrance Day tribute

Seaham seafront is again the scene of a stunning tribute to those who sacrificed their lives through conflict as a town marks Remembrance Day.

Last year the foot of the Tommy statue on the Terrace Green was decorated with hundreds of painted pebbles to create a 16ft-wide poppy.

The stunning display at Seaham

The stunning display at Seaham

This year, organisers have created Fruits of the Sea, which has used shells and pebbles to set out a flower and a stem.

It has been laid out in the same place in the run up to next weekend’s memorial services.

The presentation has been put together by the town’s Remember Them Fund and features the shells of crabs, mussels, scallops and whelks - or willicks - collected from the area’s coastline over recent months.

They have been sorted into colours to build up the image and placed onto boards.

Mayor of Seaham Coun Sonia Forster, flanked by Derek Bland (left) and Sunderland Fusiliers' standard bearer Pip Rildey

Mayor of Seaham Coun Sonia Forster, flanked by Derek Bland (left) and Sunderland Fusiliers' standard bearer Pip Rildey

They were pieced together this morning and will be on view until next Monday.

The poppy is accompanied by the date 1917-2017 in recognition of the century which has passed since the beginning of the First World War.

Dave McKenna, who heads up the organisation as a former serviceman and is also a Seaham Town Councillor, said: "After the poppy pebbles last year, we wanted to do something better and a bit different.

"We wanted to highlight the Poppy Appeal and make that connection between Tommy and the cenotaph.

Dave McKenna with the display

Dave McKenna with the display

"It’s also a way of reflecting our own resources and makes that link to the sea, which is why it’s called Fruits of the Sea.

"Last year looked good, but I think this will look even better."

He added his thanks to the town council, which offered support as the project came together and also helped to lay down the sections of wood.

Mayor Sonia Forster and veteran Derek Bland visited the seafront to see the work for themselves this morning.

"It is absolutely fabulous," said Coun Forster.

"Every year there is another surprise."

Eighty-six-year-old Derek, who served with the Royal Artillery from 1949-51, said: "I think it is brilliant. Dave has excelled himself this year."

Seaham will mark November 11 itself with a short service at 10.45am.

It will be followed by a longer event on Remembrance Sunday.

A procession will begin in Tempest Road at around 10.30am and lead down to the Terrace Green for the service.

Those involved with the ceremonies include the Royal British Legion, the town council and Durham County Council representatives, cadet groups and Easington MP Grahame Morris.

The town’s Royal British Legion branch meets at the Scout headquarters in South Terrace on the third Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm.