WATCH: Hundreds gather at Seaham as town pays its respects on Armistice Day

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A town saw its biggest turnout yet as its community marked Armistice Day.

Silence fell across the huge crowd well before 11am struck on Terrace Green in Seaham, as schoolchildren, residents, business owners and town leaders joined a large number of veterans for the two minutes silence.

Part of the Line of Reconciliation in Seaham, set out in front of the Tommy sculpture and leading up to the cenotaph.

Part of the Line of Reconciliation in Seaham, set out in front of the Tommy sculpture and leading up to the cenotaph.

Respects were paid at the cenotaph and just footsteps away from the Tommy statue, which was inspired by a First World War soldier gripped by Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and from the two Lines of Reconciliation, which have been set up by the town council for the first time in the lead up to the day.

While an annual service took place at St John's Church, ex-service men brought together a host of representatives.

The standards of Sunderland's Parachute Regiment Association and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Association were lowered during the silence, with the bugle played by Larry Roberts, who was in the Royal Green Jackets for nine years.

Reenactors also wore uniforms from the Durham Light Infantry, including one from the Napoleonic War and the First World War.

Veterans gather next to the Tommy artwork.

Veterans gather next to the Tommy artwork.

Dave McKenna, who spent 24 years in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, and Andrew Harrison, who was in the Parachute Regiment for 22 years and was also a member of the Royal Artillery physical training corps, put out a call for veterans and residents to gather on the seafront.

It followed the decision by the Royal British Legion call off the parade and move the Remembrance Sunday service next to the cenotaph to St John's Church because of bad weather.

Mr McKenna said: "We wanted to give the people of Seaham something after the disappointment of Sunday.

"We decided to get our heads together and decided to get people together.

Just a section of the crowd around the cenotaph in Seaham earlier today as a two minutes silence was held for Armistice Day.

Just a section of the crowd around the cenotaph in Seaham earlier today as a two minutes silence was held for Armistice Day.

"It's been very good and veterans have come from all over."

Derek Bland, a member of the country branch of the Royal British Legion, was in national service from 1949 to 1951 and was in the Royal Artillery 71st Akak Regiment.

He served in Egypt and went on to serve in the Territorial Army.

"It's been absolutely fantastic, really well organised, Dave McKenna and the others should be proud," he said.

Schoolchildren add their crosses to the Line of Reconciliation in Seaham after they had taken part in the two minutes silence.

Schoolchildren add their crosses to the Line of Reconciliation in Seaham after they had taken part in the two minutes silence.

"The mayor of Seaham has done a fantastic job with the Lines of Reconciliation, and Danny Cassidy, the county Poppy Appeal co-ordinator, has put down Union flags along the sides, which looks great.

"This is getting bigger every year certainly."

Children from St Mary Magdalen's RC Primary and Ropery Walk were among those to join the crowd.

Benjamin Herring, class 3 teacher, was among the staff who walked to the spot with 45 pupils from the year group.

He said: "As a Catholic school, we wanted to show our respect, not just for the people whose families were war heroes and veterans, but because we feel it is important to commemorate those who lost their lives.

"We also want to teach our children that although the world is not perfect, we should be respectful and considerate to others."

Juila Allport, year 6 teacher, accompanied 30 children from the year to the Terrace Green.

She said: "We wanted to pay our respects and we are very much part of our community.

"The children back at school will have also paid their respects and another group of children will be coming down this afternoon."

The town's branch of the Royal British Legion has apologised to people who were upset following the decision to move Sunday's event to the church.

Its leaders said they made the move because of the wet weather, with young and old due to take part in the hour-long ceremony, and because the PA system could not be used in the rain.