A Ponteland High School student will attend a major remembrance event next week in his prestigious role.
After winning the competitions to be the Royal British Legion Northumbria County Youth Standard Bearer and the Royal British Legion North East Region Youth Standard Bearer for two years running, Adam Owens recently made history by becoming the Adult Standard Bearer for the County of Northumbria.
And the 17-year-old will represent this county when he takes part in the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Saturday, November 10, in front of the Queen and members of the Royal Family.
He is Cadet Sergeant in 2510 Air Cadets (West Denton). He joined the squadron when he was 13.
In addition, the Year 13 student carried the Northumbria County Youth Standard at the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), which took place this summer – starting in France and ending at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.
This was an event organised by the Royal British Legion, which provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces community, serving men and women, veterans and their families, to commemorate the end of the First World War.
It recreated the pilgrimage that took place 90 years ago by families who had lost their loved ones during the conflict.
The contingent from across the country travelled to the start point in northern France by coach and ferry.
Adam’s mum Debbie Owens, Royal British Legion Northumbria County Youth Officer, also took part in the GP90.
She said: “During the visit, we visited the Tyne Cot war cemetery, which is the biggest Commonwealth war grave site in the world.
“We held a small service and I was able to place crosses on the graves of unknown soldiers and at the Altar of Sacrifice from churches across the Northumbria area.
“We travelled to the town of Messen – the site of the famous reported Christmas Day football match. In the market square, there is a bronze monument of a German and British soldier shaking hands, with a football at their feet.
“The following day, we attended the Theipval War Memorial and were able to watch the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, for example repairing headstones and metal work. This work is constantly happening.
“We continued to the Vimy Ridge Canadian war memorial.
“This is a breathtaking monument linked to the famous In Flanders Fields poem by John McRae.
“Each part of this white-stoned, art deco-styled monument is linked to various parts of the poem.
“The parade at the Menin Gate was poignant as more than 3,500 Royal British Legion members, both young and old, took part. This consisted of standard bearers and wreath bearers.
“We marched through the town of Ypres and the standard bearers paraded under the Menin Gate.
“It was a moving service and the whole of Ypres seemed to shake as we sang the national anthem.
“Thousand of poppy petals fell from the top of the Menin Gate – one petal for each life lost in the First World War.
“It was a great privilege to represent the County of Northumbria at the GP90, although it was also extremely sad to think that Adam is the same age as some of the young men who died and in some cases known only to God.”
Ninety years ago, the British Legion – as it was then known – organised for 11,000 veterans and war widows to visit the battlefields of the Somme and Ypres, where thousands of men paid the ultimate sacrifice, before marching to the Menin Gate.
Some laid flowers and wreaths on graves and for those loved ones who had no known grave, they laid flowers and wreaths at the Menin Gate.
The Royal British Legion Newcastle West branch, which Adam belongs to, is looking for new members.
For more information, call Debbie on 07954 598883.