Thousands of people were at Roker Beach in Sunderland to watch the image of a First World War casualty etched into the sand and then slowly washed away by the tide.

Sunderland was among a handful of coastal towns and cities chosen to deliver Pages of the Sea, a national event produced by film-maker Danny Boyle, to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.

The soldier chosen to be the featured casualty at Roker Beach was 2ndLieutenant Hugh Carr, a Houghton miner who was serving with the Royal Engineers when he was killed near Ypres in 1916.

BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown announced the two-minute silence while the image of 2ndLt Carr was being created.

Keith Merrin, Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, who was responsible for producing the Pages of the Sea event in Roker and Redcar, said: “We were surprised how many people were at the beach for 11am, but the two-minute silence was perfectly observed.

“The tone was perfect throughout the whole event, informal but respectful.”

Thousands attended the event and watched the image being created and then washed away from above the beach on Whitburn Road or from the promenade near the Cat and Dogs Steps.

As well as the main image of 2ndLt Carr, dozens of smaller images were created by members of the public who used templates to make their own images. A Pages of the Sea choir, led by Cornshed Sister Cathy Stephens, performed a specially-written song, while Easington Colliery Brass Band performed throughout the afternoon, as did a Northumbrian Piper. Members of the public were also handed headphones through which they could listen to a sonnet written by Poet Laureate Carol Anny Duffy for the event. The poem was recorded by local people, including Second World War Prisoner of War Len Ginson, 97.

Meanwhile, more than 200 kites were produced during a kite-making workshop at a beach shelter.

Elaine Murray, who attended Pages of the Sea with her family from Durham, said: “I was really quite moved by the whole event. We were there for the two-minute silence at 11am, which was beautifully and referentially observed, and then watched as the image was etched into the sand.

“Watching the image slowly take shape was amazing, and I was also really impressed by the choir and the brass band. Younger members of my family enjoyed making the kites, but the whole event had a fittingly sombre tone, it wasn’t triumphant or celebratory.”

Helen Green, Head of Performance at Sunderland Culture, and Producer of the Roker and Redcar beaches, said: “We were pleased that so many chose Pages of the Sea to pay their respects to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War. We very much hope that those who attended felt Pages of the Sea was a moving and memorable way to thank and remember so many who died.

“The etching of 2ndLt Carr was a really striking image and we’re pleased and proud that Sunderland was chosen to play a role in such an important, national act of remembrance.”

Pages of the Sea was commissioned and produced by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and delivered with partner organisations across the UK with support from The National Lottery and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Earlier in the day, Sunderland’s Remembrance Parade and Service provided an opportunity for the city to come together to pay their respects to all those who fought in conflicts past and present.

Hundreds of serving members from all three Armed Forces joined veterans and the Mayor of Sunderland at the city’s War Memorial on Burdon Road for the Parade and Service.

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