Tears of victory poppy display created around the feet of Seaham's Tommy statue

Hundreds of knitted poppies have been added to the Tommy soldier statue as the town pays tribute to the fallen for the 100th anniversary since the end of the First World War.

Sunday, 4th November 2018, 2:32 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th November 2018, 4:03 pm
The final stones are laid as part of the installation at the foot of Seaham's Tommy artwork on the Terrace Green.

The addition joins this year's pebble display at the foot of the Seaham artwork and shows crocheted flowers falling from the face of the sculpture, which was created by South Hetton artist Ray Lonsdale to symbolise a serviceman in the moment peace is called in the conflict.

The installation has been put in place by the Seaham Remember Them Fund, which works to protect and recognise all the town's war memorials, with stones painted by East Durham Trust, Ropery Walk, Murton Junior Club, the Seaham's Air Cadets and individuals.

The final stones are laid as part of the installation at the foot of Seaham's Tommy artwork on the Terrace Green.

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The 309 knitted poppies were made by Beverley Jobey, 38, who is from Seaham and now lives in Hendon, and her partner Lee Dickeson, 27, over the last three months, with the flowers attached using magnets.

She said: "I got in touch because this year I wanted to help commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Murton Junior Club with the display.

"It's been a big effort.

"Now it's in place, it looks amazing."

Dave McKenna, of the Seaham Remember Them Fund, served as a Colour Sergeant in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

He said: "This year has been a real community participation effort and we've had lots of help from people who have painted pebbles.

The knitted poppies, created by Beverley Jobey, have been attached to Tommy using magnets.

"We have a theme each year and this year's is tears of victory, so we're remembering the centenary, but also remembering those lost on both sides.

"We hope this highlights the work of the Poppy Appeal and the Royal British Legion, which supports our veterans and has done for almost 100 years, and helps them as they return to Civvy Street."

Julie Griffiths and Tracey Slater, who run Murton Junior Club, took a group from the 30 children who helped paint pebbles and they played a part in laying down the stones earlier today.

Dave McKenna, of the Seaham Remember Them Fund, and a team of helpers began to lay the pebbles earlier today.

"They've been interested in the reason why we've been doing it and asking questions about it all," Julie said.

"They know all about Tommy, so that's helped them as well."

Tracey added: "It's been a real honour to be asked to help out.

"We've also been involved in the William McNally VC medal ceremony, so that's also helped the kids learn."

Last weekend, Murton residents gathered to unveil a new memorial to Sergeant McNally, who was given the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the First World War.

Seaham's poppy will remain in place for a fortnight, after which Dave plans to put out an announcement inviting people to collect a pebble to keep as a reminder of the work of the Royal British Legion.

The piece was finished ahead of the official unveiling of the Seaham Field of Remembrance, a separate project, which recognises all men and women from the town lost in conflict or as part of the war effort and in preparation for the town's Remembrance Day parade next Sunday at 11am.