Communities across Northumberland have been putting together programmes of activities and events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.
In Stannington, after the discovery of an old parish magazine that had information about the village’s story in relation to the conflict, a committee was formed in 2015 and an application for £10,000 to the Heritage Lottery Fund was successful.
A further £10,000 has been raised through events and donations and there is plenty going on over the next few days.
A commemorative flower festival at St Mary’s Church will run from tomorrow to Sunday after the official opening this evening for invited residents and guests.
It will include knitted poppies and a willow horse feature, among others.
Tomorrow afternoon there will be a Peace Parade by the children of Stannington First School and this will be followed by a Peace Tea in Stannington Village Hall where all of the WI ladies will serve a tea in period dress.
Committee member Malcolm Scott said: “During the research we found out that Lady Ridley at that time presented red capes to the little girls from the school and small scarves to the little boys.
“We found out that a lady in the village had an original cape and we have managed to get 36 of these capes recreated for the girls to wear and scarves reproduced for boys for the parade – the 36 being the number of men from the parish who lost their lives in the conflict.”
On Saturday, from 10am to 4pm, Stannington will host a First World War Living Experience featuring a working tank from the period, a replica First World War monoplane, re-enactors and a trench, a 16th Lancers Cavalry display and representatives of the 29th Field Kitchen.
There will also be a Vickers machine gun and First World War effects from Blyth Battery. Food and crafts from local businesses will be available.
At 7.30pm, there will be a themed dance held in the Village Hall.
On Sunday morning, there will be a Centenary Remembrance service with wreath laying and laying of poppies at the village’s war memorial.
The whole event will culminate in the church on Sunday evening with a brass band concert, the national bell chiming and the lighting of a beacon.
Stannington Parish Council chairman Karen Carins said: “It’s amazing that so many people in the village have been willing to play their part in the project, which has also included producing commemorative posters, mugs and tea towels.
“We wanted the events to be on a big scale so the children will have memories that will stay with them, as we must never forget the sacrifices of the soldiers.”
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 – will be available to buy from later today.
Mark Legard, one of the main festival of remembrance organisers, is among those who contributed to the research. He said the funding enabled a group to go to The National Archives in London and look through the Scottish Horse archives in Scotland, and he also thanked the Northumberland Archives team at Woodhorn for their great support.
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 – in time for the festival.
Stannington Art Group is also involved and special pieces by professional cartoonist David Haldane and former soldier James Down, who was diagnosed with PTSD after combat in Afghanistan and went on to receive treatment after discharge with Combat Stress where he discovered art therapy, will be auctioned on Saturday in aid of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.
In Ponteland, the traditional Remembrance parade and service will be held on Sunday morning – with the parade to Ponteland War Memorial leaving the leisure centre at 10.40am.
This year’s order of service is a special one, with the winning poster of a competition for school pupils on the front.
In addition, there will be a Celebration of Peace on Coates Green on Sunday evening, starting at 6.45pm.
A bugler will play the Last Post at 6.55pm and the beacon will be lit on the top of St Mary’s Church at 7pm.
The church will be open from 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, and after the Celebration of Peace, for residents to see the Remembrance displays put together by a number of people in Ponteland.
Grants have been awarded to old people’s homes for tea parties to be held and other special activities include giant poppies on lampposts on Main Street and shops and other businesses doing window displays.
In Pegswood, a tea dance is taking place at Pegswood Community Hub tomorrow from 7.45pm to 9pm, with history display boards in the building.
At the same venue on Saturday, between 11am and 3pm, there will be an arrangement of activities and displays about Pegswood in the First World War, 100 years since women were given the vote and the centenary of the WI.
Part one of Alfie’s War, a play portraying life during the First World War with old time music hall entertainment, is at St Margaret’s Church tomorrow from 7pm and part two is at the community hub on Saturday from 7pm to 9pm.
The third and final part will be performed during the service at St Andrew’s Church, Bothal, on Sunday, which starts at 3pm.