Kevan Jones, Member of Parliament for North Durham, has thanked local schoolchildren for their efforts in raising awareness of Commonwealth War Graves in his constituency. Schools from across North Durham took the time to visit local cemeteries and churchyards to lay poppy crosses on the war graves in the week leading up to Remembrance Day.

Mr. Jones, who was also appointed last year to serve as a Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner, encouraged the schools to get involved as part of efforts to raise awareness of war graves here in the UK. The Commission provided casualty reports for each of the cemeteries, providing background information on each of the graves.

“I would like to offer my thanks to all the young people who took the time to visit their local war graves over the last week, and to pay their respects to the men and women from the area who fought in the two World Wars, and made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Often people do not realise that there are war graves in their local town or village, and associate war graves with the large cemeteries in countries such as France and Belgium, however there are over two hundred war graves here in North Durham alone.

“It is particularly pleasing to see so many young people, from Year 2 to Year 10, getting involved and ensuring that the bravery of their forefathers is not forgotten. I am looking forward to visiting a number of the schools involved over the next few days to hear more about what they did to mark Armistice Day this year.”

Local schools marked the occasion in a number of different ways. Children from St. Bede’s RCVA School in Sacriston wrote poems and made their own poppies to mark the graves, and during the Remembrance Mass, a reader from the Year 6 class told the congregation about the war graves in the churchyard. Whilst at St Josephs in Stanley, Year 6 led a school assembly on Remembrance Day, before a short prayer ceremony at each of the graves.

As well as St Bede’s and St Josephs, the other schools involved included Fyndoune Community College in Sacriston; the North Durham Academy; Roseberry Sports and Community College, Pelton; Nettlesworth Primary School; Lumley Junior School; Park View School; Greenland Community Primary School, South Moor; Tanfield School; and West Pelton Primary School.