Pages of the Sea is something I was planning to go and see – and now I’m part of it!
I’m off to Redcar on Sunday to take part in the activities there, which are part of a national act of remembrance on the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
I’ll be etching lines from a poem, written by the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy for the occasion, into the sand on the rather large stretch of beach in the town.
And I’ve been testing various tools on the beach at Sandhaven in South Shields to see what works.
Remembering the Fallen
Taking part in such an amazing project is daunting, but I couldn’t possibly turn it down!
I was contacted by Stellar Projects, who are working on the event with Sunderland Culture, which is also responsible for Pages of the Sea at Roker in Sunderland.
Large scale portraits of local soldiers who lost their lives during the Great War are being drawn on the sand on 32 beaches around the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Roker will remember 2nd Lieutenant Hugh Carr, from Houghton, who died at Ypres in 1916, while Redcar will honour Darlington-born Private Theophilus Jones, the first British soldier to lose his life on English soil in the First World War.
He was killed on December 16, 1914, while guarding the Heugh Gun Battery in Hartlepool. He was laid to rest at West Hartlepool cemetery.
The portraits have been designed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye and will be washed away as the tide comes in.
The men and women who feature were chosen by Oscar-winning stage and film director, screenwriter and producer Danny Boyle, who was commissioned by 14-19 NOW to create Pages of the Sea.
They represent a range of interesting stories – ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants and Majors.
A number were also notable war poets.
Members of the public are invited to explore an online gallery of portraits and select someone to thank and say a personal goodbye to, either via social media on in person at one of the beaches taking part in Page of the Sea.
For more information, visit www.pagesofthesea.org.uk.
The Wound in Time
Carol Ann Duffy was invited by Boyle to write a new poem, The Wound in Time, which will be read by individuals, families and communities as they gather on the beaches.
Stellar Projects wanted people to interact with the poem in different ways, so I will be writing excerpts in the sand for people to see and read as they walk along the beach.
Other events taking place in Redcar, from noon to 3pm, include live music, a poetry performance and the opportunity to stencil your own ‘soldier in the sand’.
In Roker, people will be able to listen to a recording of the poem via headphones and there will be performances from a special choir, Northumberland Piper and Easington Colliery Brass Band.
I think my family, who live in Sunderland and South Shields, will be torn between which of the two events to attend!