Chance to make your mark on Sunderland’s Veterans’ Walk as pathway reaches milestone

Final call for more stones on the next phase of the Veterans' Walk. Rob Deverson and Tom Cuthbertson (R)
Final call for more stones on the next phase of the Veterans' Walk. Rob Deverson and Tom Cuthbertson (R)
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A city walkway which honours Forces Personnel both past and present is set to reach a milestone.

The next phase of the Veterans’ Walk in Mowbray Park, the first of its kind in the UK to honour living people who serve in the Army, Navy, RAF and Merchant Navy, will be opened on December 8, during which 81 stones will be laid, the biggest number to date since the first phase was launched in November 2016.

What started as an idea by Tom Cuthbertson, whose son Nathan was killed in a suicide bomb attack while serving with the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan in June 2008, to honour serving soldiers, airmen and sailors, as well as veterans, has grown into a pathway featuring hundreds of names which is weaving its way around the Brothers In Arms Memorial Wall in the park.

The next phase will take the total of granite slabs in the walkway, which are each engraved with the names and regimental crests of Forces Personnel, up to 300 and Tom says there’s still time for people to purchase a stone in time for installation in December. The former paratrooper said: “We’ve got room for 2,000 stones altogether. This next phase will take us up to 300 stones and there’s still time for people to make a purchase in time for them being installed in December.

“Money will go towards the Brothers In Arms charity which supports many good causes for ex-servicemen including the Sunderland Armed Forces Network.”

The opening ceremony for the next phase will be attended by former paratrooper Ben Parkinson MBE, who is Britain’s most severely injured soldier to return from conflict, who has purchased a stone.

Rob Deverson, who teamed up with Tom to bring the path to Sunderland, said: “When we started this we thought if we managed to complete just one phase we would have succeeded in our aim to give people the chance to create a lasting tribute to proud service, but we’re delighted with the way it’s grown.” •Visit www.nationalveteranswalk.co.uk