Six landmarks across County Durham will be lit up in red next month to commemorate Remembrance Sunday.
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, many traditional services, parades and wreath laying ceremonies due to take place on 8 November have been cancelled. However, Durham County Council is planning a different but equally special series of events to honour those who have given their lives in conflicts all over the world.
With both visual outdoor tributes and online remembrance events planned to take place between 8-15 November, the lighting of the six landmarks will be the centrepiece of the council’s commemorations. From 8-11 November, Durham Town Hall, Bishop Auckland Town Hall, the Butter Market at Barnard Castle, the Cenotaph and Poppy Fence at The Green in Seaham, and the War Memorial in the Market Place at Chester-le-Street, will be flooded with a wash of red light. County Hall in Durham City will also be lit up in red, with an image of a large poppy projected onto the front of the building.
There will be no official light switch-on ceremonies, however, it is anticipated that all landmarks will be lit by 8am on 8 November. The lights will remain switched on at the front of each building or memorial until the late evening of 11 November.
As well as lighting up landmarks across the county, the council will also replace the iconic Helvetictoc artwork on the wall of Clayport Library with a light projection of the well-known war poem which is often read at Remembrance Day services, For The Fallen, between 8-11 November.
Cllr Joy Allen, the council’s Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “Due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus, in the interests of health and safety, we have taken the decision to replace our normal programme of Remembrance Sunday commemorations with a series of new events, as recommended by the Royal British Legion.
“We appreciate that for many Remembrance Sunday is such an important date and one that deserves to be marked with respect and reflection. To support this occasion, we feel the new programme of lighting up landmarks and virtual events is something for us all to be proud of and commemorates Remembrance Sunday with the due dignity it deserves.
“The landmark lighting across the county and light installations on both County Hall and Clayport Library will be a beautiful visual reminder of the sacrifices service men and women from across our county have made to serve and protect their country throughout the years.
“I hope people will take the opportunity to remember, reflect and show their respects in a way that feels comfortable for them – either in person when passing by the lit-up landmarks or through our programme of events.”
In addition to the outdoor lighting of landmarks, the council is also planning a series of online content and virtual events. Full programme details are being finalised and will be announced in due course.