Tribute to take place for South Shields hero Kirkpatrick

Mayor and mayoress Ernest Gibson and Patricia Ridley attend Kirkpatricks satatue to mark Anzac Day.'From left Forest View Primary Schoo pupils Emily Riley aged 11 and Kieran Roberts aged 10. Laygate Community School pupils Cody Lockey aged 10 and Mazanur Rashid aged 9
Mayor and mayoress Ernest Gibson and Patricia Ridley attend Kirkpatricks satatue to mark Anzac Day.'From left Forest View Primary Schoo pupils Emily Riley aged 11 and Kieran Roberts aged 10. Laygate Community School pupils Cody Lockey aged 10 and Mazanur Rashid aged 9

A tribute is being staged in South Tyneside this weekend to First World War heroes on the other side of the world, including one from the borough.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance staged to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) killed in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 and 1916.

To mark the occasion this year marking the centenary of the start of the failed invasion of Turkey, a service will be held at 10.45am at the John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial statue in Ocean Road in South Shields town centre on Saturday.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham, and her mayoress, Stella Matthewson, will lead a one-minute silence at 11am, accompanied by a rendition of The Last Post and the laying of a wreath at the foot of the memorial.

The service will be conducted by the Rev Paul Kennedy, of St Michael
and All Angels’ Church in South Shields, and it will be attended by local dignitaries, representatives of military organisations and pupils from the town’s Lord Blyton and Laygate primary schools.

South Shields-born Kirkpatrick, known as the Man with the Donkey, repeatedly risked his own life to rescue more than 300 wounded soldiers from the front line during the Gallipoli campaign.

He carried the injured soldiers to safety using his trusted donkey until he was killed at the age of 22 by a sniper’s bullet on May 19, 1915.

Coun Cunningham said: “This year is particularly important as we mark 100 years since the troops first landed at Gallipoli.

“I’m sure it will be a very poignant event as the people of South Shields gather to recognise the contribution and sacrifices of all those who have served their country in times of conflict.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul