New war memorial to be unveiled in South Tyneside to mark 75 years since D-Day Landings
A highly-anticipated war memorial is due to be unveiled in South Tyneside in a poignant tribute to Hebburn's fallen heroes.
The steel statue, which is to go on display in Hebburn cemetery, will be revealed to the public in a ceremony on Saturday, September 14.
The memorial has been funded by the Friends of Hebburn Cemetery group, to mark 75 years since the D-Day Landings, and is part of a larger poppy display for the group’s Remembrance Day commemorations.
Around 200 people are expected to attend the event, which will include a guard of honour from Hebburn Sea Cadets, and a parade led by a traditional piper.
The 3ft statue, which has taken eight weeks to make and cost £1,800, will be officially unveiled at 1.45pm by two local war veterans.
However, chairman of the friends group, John Stewart, has yet to reveal the design of the memorial, and is keeping residents in suspense.
“It’s a surprise, nobody knows what it is. Everybody has been guessing, but I don’t want to give it away yet," he said.
"It’s beautiful and it’s even better in the flesh, so we’re really looking forward to it.
"It’s going to be a special day.”
In March this year, the group installed a specially-designed memorial bench in a tribute to the fallen heroes buried in the cemetery.
“It’s a big part of Hebburn’s history, so we try to keep that tradition going,” said John.
“There are a lot of war graves in Hebburn cemetery and when you see some of them, they were only 17 and 18 years old.
“They should never be forgotten. They gave up their lives, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here.
“This is something for people to remember the people they have lost by. It gives them somewhere they can go to remember those friends and loved ones.”
The Friends of Hebburn Cemetery group was formed in 2017 after the cemetery was badly damaged by vandals. They now carry out regular clean-ups of the site and raise funds by opening the tea-rooms to residents every weekend.
The public should gather at 1.40pm on September 14 at the cemetery gates where the ceremony will begin.