A field of remembrance set up to honour fallen soldiers from the North East will open this week.
The Royal British Legion created its first field in the North East at Saltwell Park in Gateshead last year, with a mass of 10,000 wooden crosses each bearing poppies and loving messages placed there by families, volunteers and servicemen.
This week the park will once again be handed over to the memories of those who have lost sons, daughters, mothers and fathers fighting for their country.
The North Field of Remembrance, the first regional field to be opened in the country, will open giving those living in the region the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved ones lost to conflicts from the great World Wars to Afghanistan.
Crosses will be planted on Friday at 10am by members of the public and those from the Armed Forces before the North Field of Remembrance ceremony the following day from 10.30am in which military chiefs from the Royal Air Force, Army and Royal Navy will dedicate a remembrance cross in the field.
Following them will be Vicky Dunn, whose 27-year-old son Corporal Steven Dunn from the 216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron was killed in Afghanistan when the armoured vehicle he was travelling in was hit by an IED. Vicky will be joined by Anne Turner, who lost her son Rifleman Mark Turner, 21, from Sheriff Hill, Gateshead, was killed as he cleared IEDs in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in 2010.
The mothers have tirelessly campaigned to bring a lasting tribute to their sons on their home soil. Anne said: “I’m very honoured to once again dedicate a cross in Mark’s memory and also to be remembering the sacrifices made by all those men and women whose lives were cut short in the line of duty. I’ve no doubt that like last year it will be a very emotional day, but a very proud one for us. We will never forget the sacrifice Mark and so many brave heroes like him have made.”
The North Field of Remembrance, one of only six in the country, will be open to the public from dawn until dusk every day from November 1 until November 15.
Memorial crosses are available for people from the gazebo opposite Saltwell Towers in the park or from Gateshead Civic Centre.
Gateshead mayor Coun Jack Graham said: “I hope that the park will, once again, provide a fitting and memorable location for everyone in the region to pay tribute to those no longer with us. I’d like to welcome everyone to join us and honour some of the bravest men and women who have fought and died for their country.”