The poignant closing tribute of Stockton’s 1,245 Sunflowers project got under way last night (Monday 4 August), drawing communities into the town’s Parish Gardens to commemorate the start of World War One.
Stockton Town Centre’s Parish Gardens were awash with golden sunflowers as commemorations began in honour of those who fought and died in the war.
During last night’s moving ceremony, visitors were invited to light one of many hundreds of candles in the Gardens where Stockton’s Book of Remembrance has been on display overnight.
At precisely 11pm the Parish Church bells rang, marking the anniversary of the First World War. A Homefire was lit and has continued to burn throughout the night for 1,245 minutes, each minute symbolising the 1,245 fallen soldiers named in the Book of Remembrance.
Stockton's War Memorial was illuminated as part of the tribute. Mayor of Stockton, Councillor Barbara Inman, read the first of the names and volunteers across the Borough have been continuing the readings through to the early hours of this morning.
Councillor Inman said: “It was an honour to start the reading of the names from Stockton’s Book of Remembrance and be a part of the 1,245 Sunflowers project. So many people and their families lost their lives during the War - what a wonderful, moving way to help keep the memory of them alive today.”
The tribute will culminate in the Parish Gardens at 7pm this evening (Tuesday 5 August) with a candlelit, community-led tribute of music, singing and readings as the town says a final goodbye to the fallen soldiers.
For more information about the project visit www.stockton.gov.uk/sunflowers or http://1245sunflowers.org