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Online Commemorations to Mark ANZAC Day

South Tyneside is set to pay a virtual tribute to members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps to mark ANZAC day this Sunday (25 April).

ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance commemorated in Australia and New Zealand to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought in the battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

Communities across South Tyneside are encouraged to join the Council to pay their respects from home with a special online commemoration to be screened across the Council's social media channels at 11am this Sunday.

The virtual tribute will feature a message and footage of the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Norman Dick and Mayoress Jean Williamson laying wreaths at the Kirkpatrick Statue in Ocean Road and Gallipoli memorial on Littlehaven Beach.

The Australian and New Zealand flags will also fly from South Shields Town Hall.

South Shields-born John Simpson Kirkpatrick, known as 'The Man with the Donkey', risked his own life to rescue more than 300 wounded Australian and New Zealand soldiers from the frontline during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.

He carried the soldiers to safety using his trusted donkey until he was killed aged 22 by a sniper's bullet on 19 May 1915. The memorial at Littlehaven Promenade was unveiled in 2015 to mark the 100th anniversary of Kirkpatrick's death and the Gallipoli campaign.

The Mayor said: "Anzac Day gives us an opportunity to remember John Simpson Kirkpatrick for his incredible bravery at Gallipoli. He was a son of South Shields, a local hero, and we are proud to honour him and pay tribute to all those service personnel who lost their lives during the First World War.

"We hope that people join for our digital Anzac Day commemoration as we take a moment to reflect and recognise the contribution and sacrifices of all those who have served their country in times of conflict as well as remember John Simpson Kirkpatrick, his comrades and their immense bravery."

The legendary valour of John Simpson Kirkpatrick has inspired generations of people and he is still highly regarded in Australia where his amazing story is told to school children.

South Tyneside's traditional Anzac Day service, usually attended by schoolchildren, veterans, dignitaries and serving members of the armed forces, is not taking place again this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and government restrictions on people gathering outdoors.

However, residents will be able to see South Tyneside Council's commemorative Anzac Day video on its social media channels including Facebook STynesideCouncil and LoveSTyneside on Twitter @STyne_Council and @LoveSTyneside and on its YouTube channel.

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