AN immaculately presented triangle of land at the junction of some of Darlington’s most used roads will become the focus of an event to remember the sacrifices of Britain’s Armed Forces and those who died in some of the worst atrocities of the Second World War.

A small-scale socially distanced Act of Remembrance will be held at Haughton-le-Skerne War Memorial tomorrow (Saturday, August 15) - the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day, when Imperial Japan initially surrendered, effectively bringing the Second World War to an end.

St Andrew’s Church Rector Mark East will lead the ceremony alongside a display of hundreds of begonias created for the occasion by a dedicated team of volunteers who have worked since 2018 to restore the memorial.

The Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Chris McEwan, whose grandfather served in the Far East as a submariner during the conflict, will pay tribute to the 20 men from Haughton who died during the war, including Bombardier Harry Innes.

The Royal Artillery soldier was among the 12,399 Allied prisoners of war and 120,000 Asian labourers who died after being forced to build the 258-mile Thai-Burma railway line by the Japanese Army.

Cllr McEwan said it was important as a community, a town and as a nation that Victory over Japan Day was marked as while the conflict was often described as “the forgotten war”, the freedom and the way of life people enjoyed today would not have been possible without the courage and determination of those who fought.

He added: “In these times of social distancing I thought it was important that we did mark it, but in a small and safe way.”

The event follows a wave of goodwill towards the memorial and rising community interest.

Carol Atkinson, who has led the transformation of the memorial at the junction of Haughton Road, Haughton Green and Salter’s Lane South since a working party was set up in 2018 to help mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, said the public’s response to the volunteers work had been humbling. While the volunteers have spent countless hours preparing the memorial with flowers donated by Darlington Borough Council, she said the site had become a talking point and generated a great deal of community spirit.

Mrs Atkinson said: “Those passing by whether on foot, by car or bus have quite simply taken it to their hearts. They regularly wave, peep their car horn, shout their thanks, or stop to talk.

“Amongst them have been a number of veterans. Recently, a car stopped and a man jumped out with a thank-you card and box of shortcake for the volunteers. We have noticed that the patriot flower displays have also stirred the hearts of younger men too who are amongst those who shout their thanks in passing.

“There’s been a lot of support on social media too, with updates attracting up to 900 comments, and communications from different parts of the world. It has brought home to a lot of people the significance of remembering the people who served in wartime.”

Anyone attending the event, starting at 10.45am, must adhere to social distancing regulations and also bring a face covering for use if needed.