Landmarks lit red, the city’s traditional Remembrance Parade and Danny Boyle’s poignant Pages of the Sea event on Roker Beach.
These are just three of the ways Sunderland is marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.
The city, historically recognised for having one of the largest Remembrance Parades outside of London, is organising a series of activities and events to commemorate the signing of the Armistice which brought the First World War to an end at 11 am on 11 November 1918.
On Remembrance Day (11 November) hundreds of serving officers and veterans from all three services will gather for the annual Parade and Service at the city’s War Memorial on Burdon Road in the morning.
This will be followed by Danny Boyle’s moving Pages of the Sea event at Roker Beach in the afternoon.
The event will feature the silhouette of a large-scale portrait of a casualty from the First World War drawn in the sand before being slowly washed away as the tide comes in.
Councillor Lynda Scanlan, the Mayor of Sunderland, said: “Sunderland has a very close affinity with the armed forces which goes back a long way so I’m delighted to see so many people from across our communities getting involved in helping to mark this very special centenary.
“It’s only right that we should pay tribute to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and those who supported them back home so that future generations could enjoy the freedom our country has today.
“The impact of the First World War was felt everywhere. In Sunderland alone over 25,000 men served their country during the war, and a third were either killed or wounded.
“The war took its toll on the home front too with Sunderland’s reputation as a major centre for shipbuilding making it a target for the Germans, leaving the town under constant threat of attack.
“I think this year’s Remembrance Service on the morning of Sunday 11 November will be particularly moving.
“It’s also a huge honour that Sunderland is one of a small number of places across the country chosen to host Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea later that day and I’d encourage everyone to come along to both the Remembrance Service and the Roker Beach event.”
Keith Merrin, Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, who are producing Pages of the Sea at Roker and Redcar beaches on behalf of 14-18 NOW, said: “We’re proud to be delivering such a major national project on both Wearside and Teesside, and hope as many people as possible will support what will be a memorable and moving event to mark the Armistice Day centenary.
“The timing in Sunderland will allow people to attend the council’s annual Remembrance Day service on Burdon Road, and then support our Pages of the Sea event between noon and 2.30pm at Roker Beach – and I urge people to do just that.
“We’re delivering a programme of events around the creation of a central image in the sand to be washed away by the tide, which will include performances from Easington Colliery Brass Band, a Northumbrian piper and a specially-created choir, the production of smaller portraits and kite-making.”
Events organised to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War include:
– A 1.5 mile Walk of Poppies in Pallion decorated with more than 3,000 poppies made by local schoolchildren and the community
– Poppies projected onto Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens and the flytower of the Sunderland Empire
– Workshops aimed at giving local school children an insight into daily life at the front or a home during the First World War
– Landmarks across the city including the Northern Spire Bridge, Penshaw Monument, Fullwell Mill and Keel Square lit red for Remembrance weekend
– Production of The Muddy Choir play focussing on the lives of three soldiers from the Durham Light Infantry as the Battle of Ypres nears its end
– Artist Carrie Fertig’s solo exhibition at the National Glass Centre exploring peace and what it means today
– First World War Walk around Sunderland’s East End
– A performance of Asunder which tells the tale of Sunderland in the First World War through the stories of local people
– A Garden of Remembrance being created in Sunderland Winter Gardens with the help of commemorative First world War banners, fabricated poppies and messages made with the help of local schools and community groups
– The return of the highly acclaimed West End production War Horse to the city in February
– The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks – This little known masterpiece of British cinema, which documents the Autumn and Winter stages of the Somme on the Western Front to a moving score, is being screened at Arts Centre Washington on the afternoon on Friday 9 November
Details of all the events are available here: https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/article/14602/Sunderland-Remembrance-Sunday-parade-and-service
You can also pick up a leaflet containing all the information about what’s on where and when from Sunderland Museum, Library and Winter Gardens.