Special banner to be flown

John Young with the banner.
John Young with the banner.

An original First World War banner will take centre stage at an upcoming variety show commemorating the deadly conflict.

The banner was hung across Castle Street in 1915 when the wounded returned to the village.

It had been in the garage loft of John Young, from Bede House, Amble, who only realised what it was last year when he recognised it in an old photo which he had been asked to blow up at his shop in the town.

Amazingly, he believes that it was made by his great grandfather, Neil Young, to encourage men to join the war effort.

John said: “We always knew it was there, but in the days before Google no one knew what it was.

“But I recognised it in the old photo and then I put two and two together. It was an amazing coincidence. It features the last two lines of a poem by Rudyard Kipling, which was a call to arms to help Belgium in 1914.”

The banner will be hung during the Years to Remember show, which takes place in Amble’s St Cuthbert’s Parish Hall tomorrow.

Show producer Mary Hollins said: “It is very appropriate that it is being aired at this show, which is timed to coincide with the centenary of the start of the Gallipoli campaign.

“The town council, which has commissioned the concert, is keen to have this piece of original history on display for the public to be able to see. One of the purposes of the concert is to honour the memory of the men from Amble who took part in, and in many cases lost their lives, in the conflict.”

Highlights of the concert will include the town’s Harbour Lights women’s choir replicating a Suffragette rally and flagging up the role of women in the war effort.

Other performers will include a trio of mouth-organ experts demonstrating the Northumbrian tradition of ‘mouthing off’ and the world champion sword-dance team, Star and Shadow.

The Northumberland Army Cadet Force Pipes and Drums will stir the emotions with spirited renditions of famous military marches and evocative laments.

The audience will be able to sing along with songs of the period, led by Mary Hollins.

MC for the night will be the irrepressible and multi-talented Alex Swailes MBE. The proceedings will be brought to a fitting conclusion by retired sergeant major Ron Creasey, who will play The Last Post.

There will also be a raffle and refreshments on sale.

Tickets cost £8 and are available from the Post Office on Queen Street or from the town council offices at Fourways 2, Dilston Terrace. Alternatively, call 01665 714695. Doors open at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start.