There have been so many moving tributes to the fallen heroes of the Battle of the Somme in its 100th anniversary year. In Seaham yesterday I witnessed another. Hundreds of pebbles have been collected from the local beach, hand painted red, and arranged in a poppy around ‘Tommy’. This emotive metal sculpture was designed by Ray Lonsdale and unveiled in 2014.
‘Paint it Red’ was the idea of David McKenna, a former soldier who has served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Six years ago he founded a local community group, Seaham Remembers Them. Cadets and veterans alike were involved in this project, which took 2 months to complete.
Afterwards I strolled on the beach, crunching through the pebbles with their weird and wonderful shapes, and feeling very lucky to be alive.