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Young and old pay respect side by side.

Byline: By Rhodri Phillips

War veterans recalling fallen colleagues yesterday stood side by side with children offering prayers of thanks at services to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

For many who fought during the war, yesterday's services were the last major commemoration they will attend.

But as they stood proudly wearing their medals on a glorious summer day, they were reassured their selflessness would not be forgotten by future generations.

July 10 was chosen as an appropriate day to mark the end of the Second World War as it falls half-way between VE Day on May 8 and VJ Day on August 15, and thousands of people around the region attended special services.

In Ponteland in Northumberland, about 130 people marched from St Mary's Church to the town's Memorial Hall for a noon service.

Children from Ponteland Middle and First schools, and Belsay First School read the names of everyone from Ponteland who died during the two World Wars.

The town's Royal British Legion sang Let There Be Peace on Earth and a RAF bomber command veteran Len Lambert recited a poem written by a 19-year-old soldier, John Magee.

David Mansfield, 82, a retired marketing director, from Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, who was stationed in Burma with special forces from 1942 to 1946, was at the service.

He said: "This is a last chance for many of us. We are all in our 80s now and might not see each other again. It was important to remember VE Day in May and it is important to mark VJ day in August. This is another opportunity to remember. It is important to remember as often as we can."

Jean Fellowes-Prynne, 68, represented the Ponteland branch of the British Red Cross at the service. The retired nurse, who grew up in Surrey, but has lived in Ponteland for more than 35 years, said: "It is very important to remember. I lost my father during the war when I was six and I have been to a memorial service every year since. It is lovely to see so many children at the service, reading poems and giving thanks to those who lost their lives. It is essential that future generations remember the sacrifices made."

In St Nicholas' Cathedral in Newcastle, the Dean of Newcastle, the Very Rev Chris Dalliston, led a 9.30am service in honour of those who lost their lives during the Second World War.

There were also prayers for those injured or killed in last week's terrorist attacks in London.

In Hexham Abbey in Tynedale, an hour-long service yesterday evening focused on the themes of thanksgiving and commitment to a peaceful future.

The Rector of Hexham, the Rev Graham Usher, said the service was particularly important as it was likely to be the last major commemoration when veterans were present.

During the service, the congregation heard stories of what life was like 60 years ago, and afterwards there was a parade along Beaumont Street. In Durham, the 60th anniversary of the end of the war was remembered in a special Evensong service in the city's cathedral.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2005
Words:521
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