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Tributes Paid on Anzac Day

The people of South Tyneside have paid tribute to members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps with a special ANZAC Day service in South Shields today.

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.

To mark the occasion, a service took place at the John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial statue in Ocean Road in South Shields Town Centre.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Pay Hay was joined by the Deputy Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear Col. Christopher Tearney to lead a one minute silence at 11am. There was also a rendition of The Last Post before wreaths were laid at the foot of the memorial on behalf of the people of the Borough.

The service was led by Father Mark Mawhinney and attended by local dignitaries, military organisations and children from Lord Blyton and Stanhope primary schools.

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. A special memorial was unveiled at Littlehaven Promenade to mark the 100th anniversary of Kirkpatrick's death and the Gallipoli campaign.

His legendary bravery has inspired generations of people and he is still highly regarded in Australia where his amazing story is told to school children.

The Mayor said: "Anzac Day gives us an opportunity to remember John Simpson Kirkpatrick for his incredible bravery at Gallipoli - one of the Allies' great military disasters in the First World War.

"It is always such a poignant occasion. I was so proud to see the community coming together to honour the huge contribution and immense bravery of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the Gallipoli campaign.

"John Simpson Kirkpatrick was one of those troops and is quite rightly recognised as a national hero in Australia. Kirkpatrick is also from South Shields and we are extremely proud to commemorate him and all his comrades. It is important that their sacrifice is never forgotten."

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