Sunderland’s annual Remembrance Parade and Danny Boyle’s touching ‘Pages of the Sea’ display will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War on Sunday.
And they represent two of the highlights of a wide-ranging programme of continuing events across the city.
The parade, one of the largest in the UK outside of London, will set off at 10.35am from the Civic Centre. It will be attended by hundreds of service personnel and veterans, with the Centenary of the 1918 Armistice set to only add to its poignancy.
In a press release, Sunderland City Council outlined some of its key features:
“The parade is being led by The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals and Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band with music provided during the service by Shiney Row Male Voice Choir.
“Sunderland’s adopted regiment, 4 Regiment Royal Artillery is once again providing the largest contingent in the parade. It is also providing two field guns which will be fired from the terrace in Mowbray Park to signal the start and finish of the two minute silence at 11 am.
“Veteran George Waller who served in the RAF in the Second World War will recite the first four verses of the famous war poem ‘For the Fallen’ before the two minute silence.
“He will be followed by veteran Len Gibson, a member of 125 Anti Tank Regiment Royal Artillery who was a prisoner of war on the notorious ‘Death Railway’ in Burma who will recite the Far Eastern Prisoner Prayer before the wreath laying.”
Members of the public are welcome to attend, with anyone coming along being advised to: “dress warmly and be in place at the War Memorial by 10.15am on Sunday 11 November.”
The afternoon will then provide another opportunity to pay respects and remember.
‘Pages of the Sea’, produced by film director Danny Boyle, will be taking place on Roker Beach, one of 32 locations to hold the event across the UK.
Outlining the display, the council said:
“On Remembrance Sunday, the public is invited to gather on beaches across the UK for an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.
“Sunderland Culture will be part of Pages of the Sea, with Roker Beach being among a handful of beaches chosen nationally to host the event.
“Each project centres on the drawing of a large-scale portrait of a casualty from the First World War, designed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye, which will be washed away as the tide comes in.
“In addition, the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict.”
Mayor, Councillor Lynda Scanlon, said:
“It’s a great honour to have been chosen as one of a small number of places across the country to host Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea. So I’d encourage anyone who gets the chance to try to make it to event at Roker Beach between noon and 2.30 the same day. I think it promises to be a memorable and moving event.”
Further commemorations will continue on Wearside over the coming weeks; the ‘Poppy Projection’, ‘A garden of remembrance’ and the ‘First World War Touring Exhibition’ will be present at Sunderland Museum, Library and Winter Gardens until November 30.