Durham Town Hall lights up in red to commemorate Remembrance Sunday

By and

Although Covid-19 restrictions mean the usual Remembrance Sunday commemorations will not be able to take place this year, the occasion will nevertheless be celebrated in Durham City, across County Durham and online.

Annual cenotaph services marking the armistice which brought World War One to a close have been cancelled across the United Kingdom, with a doorstep two minutes’ silence at 11 a.m. today proposed in its place.

Durham County Council has launched a ‘Lighting Up Red’ scheme, where between Sunday 8th and Wednesday 11th November, six sites across County Durham will be lit in red to commemorate the fallen. 

These include Durham and Bishop Auckland Town Halls, County Hall in Aykley Heads, Butter Market in Barnard Castle, the Cenotaph on The Green in Seaham and the War Memorial in Chester-le-Street.

The Town Hall light display, which provides a moving backdrop to the bronze Durham Light Infantry statue in Market Square, is complemented by a cascade of knitted poppies produced by the Parish Council.

The cascade was made by volunteer residents, an art group, businesses and Women’s Institute branches from the area, in collaboration with the County Council. At the bottom, the largest poppies include words from letters sent by soldiers sent to their loved ones.

It was produced as part of the Sponsor a Poppy drive in support of the Royal British Legion. Nationally, 12,000 of the 40,000 poppy sellers are shielding due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, For the Fallen, the well-known poem by Lawrence Binyon, will be displayed between dusk and midnight on Clayport Library between today and Wednesday, and images of falling poppies will be displayed on screens in all Council buildings and on the outside screens at Elvet Bridge and outside the Gala Cinema.

The Council has also placed a number of online resources on their website in order to commemorate the fallen. These include a selection of four war poems read by Gerald McNally and musical recordings from the ‘When the Bugle Calls’ exhibition of 2018.

This builds on pre-existing resources dedicated to remembering those who lost their lives, including the ‘Listen to the Soldier’ scheme, the most wide ranging and comprehensive oral history collection of recorded material from Durham Light Infantry. These resources can be accessed here.

Durham Cathedral’s annual Festival of Remembrance was livestreamed on Facebook last night. The event, recorded in Durham Cathedral earlier this week, includes the annual muster of service personnel, alongside music from the Band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers accompanied by pipes from 102 Battalion REME, a special tribute to Covid-19 key workers from John Rowland, and a performance by the talented Youth Theatre group at Enter CIC. 

The 30 minute concert is in aid of ABF The Soldier’s Charity, who will use the funds raised to help soldiers, veterans and their immediate families in times of genuine need.

Today, the Cathedral will livestream Holy Communion at 8:30, the Remembrance service at 10:30 and Evensong at 15:30.

Image: Durham Parish Council

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