Hebburn remembers war dead with unveiling of new steel poppies statue

A poignant new statue has been unveiled to remember those who have lost their lives during military conflict.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 6:24 am

More than 100 people gathered in Hebburn Cemetery, in Victoria Road West, Hebburn, to see the 4ft-high Poppies in Steel sculpture revealed for the first time.

The £1,800 creation is the brainchild of the Friends of Hebburn Cemetery and was proudly unveiled by John Waggott, 73, the vice-chairman of Hebburn Royal British Legion on Saturday.

Mr Waggott, a member of the Territorial Army in the 1970s, said: “It is a great honour to be asked. I knew what was planned, but to see it for the first time is fantastic.”

Friends of Hebburn Cemetery unveil their new memorial, Poppies in Steel.

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The retired scrapyard driver is a regular at the tea and coffee mornings held by the Friends every Saturday morning at the cemetery’s tea rooms.

Proceeds from the get-togethers have helped pay for the colourful statue.

The Friends of Hebburn Cemetery was formed around two-and-a-half years ago in response to vandal attacks in the cemetery.

Chairman John Stewart said: “I saw one of the statues online and thought it would be ideal as a tribute here.

John Waggott, left, and John Stewart unveil the new memorial.

“The money has come from the coffee mornings and people making small donations here and there.

“The idea is about honouring war veterans, both from the two world wars and modern day conflicts. It shows Hebburn remembers.” Mr Francis thanked Eden Memorials, from Tyne Dock, for providing the statue’s plinth for free and to everyone who helped paint more than 1,200 surrounding plastic poppies.

He added: “We have had help with the poppies on the drive from teenagers up to 89-year-old grannies. It has brought the community together.”

Hebburn Sea Cadets were also present at Saturday’s ceremony, in which a military bugler played The Last Post.

Spectators await Saturday's official unveiling.

In a speech to the spectators, Mr Stewart said: “You being here today is what makes it worthwhile. It is our memorial. You should be proud of it.”

The tea and coffee mornings are held between 8am-12.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays in the tea rooms.