Friends of Westoe Cemetery holds remembrance service to honour armed forces members past and present
Members of the community united together to honour veterans with a remembrance service at a South Tyneside cemetery.
Friends of Westoe Cemetery, along with Cllr Anne Hetherington and pupils from Marine Park Primary School, gathered at the the tomb of Dr Thomas Winterbottom founder of South Shields Marine School, to pay tribute and lay wreaths ahead of Remembrance Day.
Following a rendition of I Vow To Thee My Country, Father Mark Mawhinney, from St Hilda’s Church led the service and a prayer, with wreaths laid down to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives during conflict.
Friends of Westoe Cemetery was set up just two years ago and the group hope to make their remembrance day tribute a yearly event.
Group secretary Fay Cunningham said: “We started the group about two years ago because we were conscious there are so many people who are a part of South Tyneside who are buried here and we wanted to assist the council in making sure this cemetery is kept as a place of contemplation and peace.
These events are really, really important, I think particularly the remembrance services, they focus the whole town on what is important and I think remembering the people who have given their lives for us is very important. In this cemetery we have about 150 master mariners and pilots and about 30 military graves which we’re trying to upgrade.”
Cllr Anne Hetherington, who laid a wreath on behalf of South Tyneside Council, said: “I think events like this are really important because so many people gave their lives so generously to support our freedoms of speech and our freedoms to live.”
A number of services and parades are being held in communities across South Tyneside to mark Armistice Day this Friday, November 11, and Remembrance Sunday, November 13.
The Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay and Mrs Jean Copp will lead the tributes in South Shields on Remembrance Sunday, when a parade will leave South Shields Town Hall at 10.30am and march along Westoe Road to Westoe Cenotaph for a service at 10.55am.