Seaham Field of Remembrance unveiled as new memorial to town's lost servicemen and women

A war memorial which honours every man and woman lost as they served their country was officially launched today.

Hundreds of people turned out to watch the ceremony on the Terrace Green as the Seaham Field of Remembrance was unveiled.

Sue Snowdon, Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, unveils the plaque installed as part of the Seaham Field of Remembrance memorial.

Sue Snowdon, Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, unveils the plaque installed as part of the Seaham Field of Remembrance memorial.

It marks the completion of the project, which has installed 900 bronze-coloured resin poppies on the fence looking out across the North Sea and as a backdrop of the Tommy statue.

Each flower is decorated with the name of the servicemen and women who died while in the forces, with the design by Washington artist Allan Scott created to emulate the Dead Man's Penny, the medal given to the families of those lost in the First World War.

Today's event was held just a short time after the completion of the pebble poppy display created by the Seaham Remember Them Fund in acknowledgement of the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by Sue Snowdon, Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Eric Ingram, Northumberland county president of the Royal British Legion, Easington MP Grahame Morris, Mayor of Seaham Barbara Allen and all three of the town's cadet forces and its Scout group.

A large crowd turned out for the event earlier today.

A large crowd turned out for the event earlier today.

Houghton Pipe Band played during the ceremony, with the Last Post also performed as people fell silent to remember those who gave their lives.

Members of the 103 Field Squadron, which is part of the 71 Engineers Regiment in Newcastle and has a troop based at the Territorial Army in Seaburn, also attended after they helped attach the poppies to the fence.

Staff Sergeant Scott Robson said: "We had to come down for this event and it's great to be together and bring the family down too.

"We helped fit all the poppies last Monday and it's good to see it finished."

The town's cadet forces turned out for the seafront ceremony.

The town's cadet forces turned out for the seafront ceremony.

Allan, who was commissioned to create the poppy after he helped with a project in his home town where poppies were placed outside the homes of those lost in conflict, said he was delighted to see the display come together.

"It's just absolutely fantastic and I think the biggest pleasure for me is this is the first time in Seaham where all these people have had their names shown together," he said.

"It's been very humbling to play a part in it and I think it looks very powerful, especially if you're driving along and can see all the plaques.

"It's very effective and I think today has been a credit to its organisers."

At the close of the ceremony, Sue Snowdon, Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, laid a stone as part of the pebble display created by the Seaham Remember Them Fund.

At the close of the ceremony, Sue Snowdon, Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, laid a stone as part of the pebble display created by the Seaham Remember Them Fund.

The display has been put in alphabetic order of those lost, with an addendum section created at the end as families have come forward with information about their loved on.

Gary Richardson led the project with the help of historians Kathleen Anderson and Brian Scollen as they researched the names, with a team of helpers then working to prepare the flowers.

A total of £27,000 was raised to make it a reality, with funds now being collected to cover the cost of a website, which will carry information about those named in the memorial.

Gary, who is also chairman of the town's Royal British Legion branch, said: "I think there's been a lovely turn out and it's been an excellent day.

"This is now here for everybody to see and it will be here for as long as we can keep on top of it."

Seaham's Remembrance Parade will be held at 11am next Sunday, starting from the Lord Londonderry statue on North Terrace, which will be closed off to traffic.

Representatives of the town's army, sea and air cadets took part in the ceremony.

Representatives of the town's army, sea and air cadets took part in the ceremony.