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Crosses planted in memory of fallen service men and woman
A FEW gentle taps with a rubber mallet and the small wooden cross was embedded in the soft turf.
For Sharon Turton it was an important, symbolic gesture in remembering her late husband, Kris, who died six years ago in Iraq.
The 27-year-old trooper was serving with the Queen's Royal Lancers Battle Group when he was killed along with his comrade, Corporal Ben Leaning after their tank was hit by a roadside IED.
Mrs Turton, 40, from Darlington, today (Friday, November 1) was helping create the north of England’s only Field of Remembrance to honour service men and women who have fought and died for their country.
Saltwell Park in Gateshead is hosting a sea of about 12,000 wooden crosses that bear a personal message from members of the public and commemorate lives lost in service; from the World Wars of the 20th century to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan today.
Mrs Turton, who is secretary of the Darlington branch of the Royal British Legion and launched the Poppy Appeal 2013 at Bamburgh Castle, in Northumberland, last Friday, said: “It is an opportunity to remember all of the soldiers who have been killed in conflicts right up to the present day. For me personally it’s the opportunity to remember Kris. He will be looking down at me and laughing at me on my knees with a mallet.
“But he would love it and the fact that I am getting through it everyday and the fact his memory is living on in the work I am doing.”
Crosses have been planted by volunteers including members of the Armed Forces, The Royal British Legion, local cadet forces and members of the public.
The North Field of Remembrance ceremony will take place tomorrow (Saturday, November 2) at 10.30am with a dedication service conducted by military chaplain, The Reverend James Breslin, Chaplain to the Royal British Legion, Northumbria.
At 11am, a two-minute silence will be observed before military chiefs from across the region representing the Royal Air Force, Army and the Royal Navy will dedicate a remembrance cross in the field.
The North Field of Remembrance was brought to the region as part of a campaign by Anne Turner, from Gateshead, to pay tribute to fallen service men and women from the north.
Her son, Rifleman Mark Turner, from 3rd Battalion The Rifles was 21 years-old when he was killed on patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan in 2010.
Andrew Drake, area manager for The Royal British Legion in the North, said: “The Royal British Legion remembers and honours the sacrifices of those who fought and continue to fight in service for our nation.
“The Field of Remembrance is a fitting way of ensuring that the courage of all our fallen heroes lives on in our minds.”
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