Range of events and services to remember fallen in village

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The Festival of Remembrance in Stannington put the village in the media spotlight.

Hundreds of people came along to the various events and services on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

They included a flower festival at St Mary’s Church, a Peace Parade by the children of Stannington First School, a Peace Tea in Stannington Village Hall where all of the WI ladies served a tea in period dress, a First World War Living Experience, a themed dance and a brass band concert, the national bell chiming and the lighting of a beacon.

On Sunday morning, there was a Centenary Remembrance service with wreath laying and laying of poppies at the village’s war memorial.

Local historian and genealogist Richard Tolson has carried out extensive research to put together some Stannington for King and Country books and the third of his three volumes – The Men of Stannington Parish – is now available to buy.

Using researched information during the First World War years about Harold Burge Robson, the horse provided for him by Lord Ridley, Percy, and a cat, Peter, who was the Northumberland Hussars’ mascot, local writer D B Court has written a children’s book – Wor Peter and Wor Percy and The Great War Adventure.

A group of Stannington First School pupils with Sandra Dickinson and David Clarke in the village hall. In the background are the Robson's Choice group that played during the afternoon tea.

A group of Stannington First School pupils with Sandra Dickinson and David Clarke in the village hall. In the background are the Robson's Choice group that played during the afternoon tea.

The opening event, which included a book signing by Mr Tolson, on Thursday evening was attended by more than 180 people. They marvelled at the lighting of the church, which went viral on social media.

Saturday was a tremendous day, which went off without a hitch and saw around 3,000 men, women and children come along to watch the re-enactments and see the attractions that included a working tank from the First World War period. The Ridley Arms had a 1918 menu and the staff dressed in costume too.

The Edwardian-themed dance in the evening was a great success and organisers were honoured to have Lord and Lady Ridley attend.

Stannington Parish Council chairman Karen Carins said: “We have been humbled by the generosity and support we have received from the people and businesses of Stannington and beyond, and from the wonderful sponsors who made the £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant we received grow to nearly £20,000 in funding.

“Words cannot convey the pride I feel for my community and thanks must go to the researchers for all their incredible hard work.”

“Without their vision and attention to detail, we would not have witnessed and been able to experience this Weekend of Remembrance.

“Thanks to all the unsung heroes who said yes to everything we asked of them. Thanks to Woodhorn Archives, Blyth Battery, the WI, the re-enactors, the 16th Lancers Display Team, the 29th Field Kitchen and all the wonderful museums that have allowed us access to their immense archives.

“Thank you to our incredible schoolchildren who have made the whole event so special – their march on Friday afternoon, led by members of Northumberland Scottish Pipes and Drums, was beautiful and made a fitting tribute.

“The history books and children’s book are a legacy that will ensure our children remember.

“To get so much local and regional media coverage has been brilliant.”

“A donation from the proceeds of the festival will go to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and once all the funds are balanced, they will be used to help fund different projects within the community.”

The village had its biggest-ever attendance for the Remembrance Service on Sunday.

Ord Scott, 92, who was in the Royal Navy and awarded France’s highest military and civil honour The Legion D’Honneur, laid a wreath during the service.

The theme for the current term at Stannington First School is Poppies, People and Pets.

Headteacher Alexandra Palmer said: “When Richard Tolson sent me the true stories of the Stannington war horse and cat, myself and the staff knew that this would be a fantastic way to teach the children about the First World War; through the stories of the people and animals that took part in it and the impact it had on their lives and on our country, including the village where they live.

“The events organisers funded our whole school trip to Beamish, where the children were able to experience life 100 years ago. This really helped them to understand how life has changed in the past 100 years.

“The activities they did on the day included packing parcels to send to soldiers on the front line and finding out about the life of a soldier during the First World War.

“Involving the school in the Festival of Remembrance has given our children an understanding of the significance of the poppy; of who and what we are remembering when they wear it.

“It was nice to have D B Court come into school the day before the Peace Parade to read from her book and the children shared with her some of the writing and poetry they had done about other war animals.

“Taking part in the parade and tea to replicate how children would have celebrated the end of the First World War was another great learning experience for them.”