Crowds turn out for memorial bench unveiling at Hebburn Cemetery

The  war memorial bench and plaque that was unveiled at a service at Hebburn Cemetery on Sunday. Local Sea Cadets with l-r John Sterwart Chairman Friends of Hebburn Cemetery, Councillors Adam Ellison, Nancy Maxwell and Richard Porthouse.
The war memorial bench and plaque that was unveiled at a service at Hebburn Cemetery on Sunday. Local Sea Cadets with l-r John Sterwart Chairman Friends of Hebburn Cemetery, Councillors Adam Ellison, Nancy Maxwell and Richard Porthouse.

The heroes of yesteryear have been remembered as a special service took place in the grounds of a South Tyneside cemetery where a memorial bench was unveiled.

More than 150 people - including veterans of war - turned out to be part of the event held on Sunday in Hebburn Cemetery.

The  war memorial bench and plaque that was unveiled at a service at Hebburn Cemetery on Sunday. Unveiling of the Memorial Bench by local Sea cadets and Coun. Adam Ellison (4th from right)

The war memorial bench and plaque that was unveiled at a service at Hebburn Cemetery on Sunday. Unveiling of the Memorial Bench by local Sea cadets and Coun. Adam Ellison (4th from right)

The day, organised by the Friends of Hebburn Cemetery, was led by the Deacon of St Aloysius Church Peter Jones.

It was also attended by the areas councillors Nancy Maxwell, Richard Porthouse and Adam Ellison as well as members of Hebburn Sea Cadets.

Chairman of the group John Stewart said: “The day was brilliant. We had 152 key rings to give out on the day and they all went. “There were some people who didn’t receive them, so we will get some more made.

“The organisers were over the moon with the turnout. We had about 170 people there and we all went in to the tea rooms for refreshments afterwards.

We had veterans who turned up and we also had young people from Hebburn Sea Cadets in attendance - we couldn’t have asked for anything better.

John Stewart

“We had veterans who turned up and we also had young people from Hebburn Sea Cadets in attendance - we couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

The bench, was unveiled by volunteer Sea Cadet George Bone MBE, and is close to the final resting places of 20 HMS Kelly sailors.

The HMS Kelly crew members were killed when the Hebburn-built destroyer was hit but not sunk in a German torpedo attack in May 1940.

Also among the collective grave block, know as Section C, are 13 other servicemen who died in the 1939 to 1945 war.

The  war memorial bench and plaque that was unveiled at a service at Hebburn Cemetery on Sunday.

The war memorial bench and plaque that was unveiled at a service at Hebburn Cemetery on Sunday.

The metal three-seater bench features a poppy central cast which was specially designed to reflect the sacrifices of the men and women who fought for their country.

A plaque was also unveiled as part of the service.

Both the bench and plaque has been funded by the Friends of Hebburn Cemetery.

The group of volunteers came together two years ago following a vandal attack which saw a number of graves desecrated and headstones ripped up.

Veterans at the war memorial bench and plaque that was unveiling at a service at Hebburn Cemetery on Sunday.

Veterans at the war memorial bench and plaque that was unveiling at a service at Hebburn Cemetery on Sunday.

Since then, they carry out regular clean-ups of the site, and have spruced up flower beds and enabled the daily opening of the tea-rooms within the cemetery.