We will never forget them

It was humbling at the weekend to be among the very many hundreds of people who turned out around our Wansbeck Constituency, to remember those from our communities who made the ultimate sacrifice in wars and conflicts.

This year is an especially poignant one in that it marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 at what many believed at the time would the war to end all wars. It is always difficult to put into scale the number of casualties in any war, but if anyone has had the chance to visit the Tower of London to see the moat full of ceramic poppies, that is a sobering reminder of the fact that each one represents a life lost in the First World War.

So many families from this area still grieve for relatives and friends lost not just in that war but between 1939 and 1945 and indeed in conflicts since then including the latest in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Humbling then that this weekend so many people paid their respects at parades and services such as the two I attended in Ashington and Bedlington, and elsewhere in Newbiggin, Guide Post and Morpeth among others.

What was very noticeable to me was the number of young people present at the Ashington and Bedlington services, as well as the representatives from so many local organisations, clubs and societies. To me it was a symbol of that fact that paying our respects to the fallen remains as important today as it has ever been for so very many people.