FORCES veterans are coming together to remember those involved in past conflicts.
Tomorrow sees the launch of a new Veterans’ Forum, created between representatives of armed forces organisations and Sunderland City Council.
There are more than 26,000 services veterans in Sunderland. This is the highest proportion of any UK city.
The launch is being held during the city’s Remembrance Week with the Concert of Remembrance at Seaburn Leisure Centre on Saturday and the annual Burdon Road War Memorial Service on Sunday morning.
Councillor Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, is the council’s Elected Member Armed Forces’ Champion.
He said: “The forum recognises how our city has a proud tradition of close connections with the armed services, and we have always recognised their valuable sacrifices.
“The Sunderland Veterans’ Forum has been established to help co-ordinate and organise events celebrating, remembering and involving the armed services.
“This is helping to make sure that this proud tradition of recognition continues.”
The forum is being chaired by Alan Caddick, head of housing support and community living at Sunderland City Council in his role as the Officer Armed Forces Champion.
Recognised veterans groups are invited to the forum to help give a balanced and true representation of veterans’ views.
Events that will be part of the forum’s agenda include: Remembrance Sunday, the 2014 Commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War, Armed Forces Day and next year’s Sunderland International Airshow.
Graham Hall, vice-chairman of the forum and chairman of Sunderland Armed Forces Network, said: “Veterans in Sunderland have asked to have a forum like this for years.
“Associations and military groups who represent Sunderland’s veterans are now at the very heart of the decision-making of veterans’ issues in Sunderland.
“The city has the highest number of veterans compared to the residential population of any other city in the country. Veterans through their associations can now shape veterans’ issues now and in the future.”