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Special Event to Commemorate War Centenary

Communities from across South Tyneside are set to come together to commemorate a centenary of remembrance this weekend.

Sunday 11 November marks the day 100 years ago when the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War.

Organisations and communities the length and breadth of the UK, as well as in countries abroad, will come together on the day to remember the sacrifice of the millions of men and women who died, or returned home wounded, during the harrowing four year conflict.

South Tyneside is marking the day with a unique hour-long event at Littlehaven Promenade and Seawall. The event will begin with the lighting of a beacon at 5pm as part of the nation's tribute to symbolise the 'light of hope' that emerged from the darkness of war. It will also feature the illuminated 6ft silhouette of a soldier.

Councillor Ed Malcolm, Chairman of South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum, said: "Every year we honour the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to serve our country, remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice and acknowledge all those who return home a changed person dreadfully wounded, both mentally and physically.

"This year is especially poignant as we acknowledge 100 years since the end of the First World War.

"We are extremely proud to be joining the nation to commemorate this pivotal moment in world history with a unique event which will include the lighting of a beacon as a symbol of the light of hope that emerged from the darkness of war a century ago.

"The legacy of this war impacted every corner of the country, touching the lives of so many people, whether this is through family history, the heritage of our local communities or because of the role it played in shaping the world we live in today.

"We hope that people will show their support and join us to commemorate the centenary of Armistice and give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy today, at what will be an extremely moving, but memorable, event."

People will be encouraged to gather at Harbour Drive car park to see live stage performances from local groups as well as hear moving readings of personal letters sent from the front line. There will be a selection of songs from the First World War from the Bedeburn All Age Choir and a WWI medley performance from ukulele player James Basset.

For many months, local organisations and groups have been working on projects relating to the First World War and examples of this extensive work will be showcased on a large screen on the evening.

The evening will also recreate the sounds of the end of the First World War with a spectacular fireworks display set to WWI-themed music, thanks to support from Ocean Beach Pleasure Park. The evening will draw to a close with 11 shots of gun fire, the 'Last Post' and 'Reveille' performed by buglers and 'Flowers of the Forest' by a lone piper.

South Shields Town Hall will be bathed in a red hue as will the Sail and Eye public art feature at Littlehaven Promenade and Seawall. Hebburn and Sunderland Sea Cadets will be handing out packets of poppy seeds to visitors as a memento of the event.

Later that evening, at 7:05pm, bells will ring out from St Bede's Church alongside churches and cathedrals across the country.

The Borough's annual Remembrance services, parades and wreath-laying will take place as usual on Remembrance Sunday (11 November), when civic dignitaries, veterans, their families and uniformed organisations will join members of the community to gather for quiet reflection. The service at Westoe, South Shields, will also include gun fire. Further details are available at

The Council has been working with community groups and organisations, which have been marking the commemorations with a series events and activities in the run up to Sunday 11th November.

As part of the wider community activities, smaller Perspex silhouettes of Tommy soldiers will be displayed across the Borough. They form part of the 'There But Not There' project - a national art installation representing the fallen British and Commonwealth First World War soldiers within the communities they left behind.

Other events include commemoration events at The Word such as a new free exhibition chronicling how the war affected the lives of those who worked at South Shields public library at the time. A WWI themed music concert is also taking place at The Customs House on Sunday 11 November. Proceeds from the event will go to the Royal British Legion and the Mayor's Charity, which this year is supporting the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust and St Clare's Hospice. Tickets are available at

Community work to commemorate the end of the WWI has been underway for the past four years as part of a joint project with North Tyneside Council which has been supported by the Heritage Lottery.

The community heritage project, involving local organisations, groups and school children, explores the challenges and changes faced by local families in the post-war period. It is being showcased in museum exhibitions in both areas.

'Our Hopes Profound: How WWI changed people's lives in South Tyneside' at South Shields Museum features personal stories of people from South Tyneside and mirrors the Hearts of Pieceexhibition at Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend.

The newly created South Tyneside Remembers website also provides a lasting memorial to all those local individuals who served during the conflict.

For full details about the First World War commemorations in South Tyneside, including remembrance services, visit South Tyneside Council's website at

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