How you can join in annual Easter tradition in South Tyneside marking its 170th year

Online celebrations will be held on Good Friday by organisers of the annual South Tyneside Procession of Witness.

And this year’s event has extra significance as it is the 170th anniversary of the parades.

The pandemic means the event will have to be held online only but people can still take part in a huge range of events via the website, Facebook page and YouTube channel of the People’s Mission.

From 10am on Friday, people can view pre-recorded footage which includes Sunday School Union president Margaret Davison giving a welcome from the steps of the Town Hall as well as benediction. There will also be recorded footage from West Park and Harton, to mark each of the three parades held annually.

One of the three Good Friday Processions of Witness starting out at the Living Waters Church in Laygate, South Shields in 2019.

The online coverage will also include band music while people can watch old photographs from previous years of the procession.

Margaret said children will give Bible readings and hymns will also be played including There Is A Green Hill and To God Be The Glory.

The special speaker will be evangelist David Glover.

Margaret said: “We have tried to make the online event as lifelike as possible.”


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Part of the 2019 procession.

The Sunday School Union represents a number of churches and organisations including the Salvation Army, West Harton Methodist Church, Westoe Baptist Church, the People’s Mission, Marsden Baptist Church, Living Waters, Talbot Methodist Church, Bethesda Church and the Peoples Mission in Fort Street.

Lynne Thomson, secretary of the South Shields Sunday School Union, said: “Every year we hold an annual Procession of witness to the Market Place, West Park and Harton School. This year we would have been holding the 170th procession of witness.”

Lynne added: "Due to the Covid restrictions we are unable to hold it in person this year, so we have decided to hold the service online.”


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Lynne is hoping for strong support for the online ‘procession’ as their last event – an online carol service at Christmas – attracted more than 700 hits.

The 120th annual Procession of Witness marches down King's Street into the Market Place for the Easter Service in 1971.

Organisers hope to organise another celebration of the 170th anniversary later this year.

She added: “The plan is that, hopefully in October depending on the pandemic restrictions, we will be able to hold a service of celebration for the Sunday School Union.


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"To be still going after 170 years is something that we should celebrate.”

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