WARTIME planes flew in the skies over the North-East at the weekend as the region paid tribute to the sacrifice made by men and women of the Armed Forces.

The RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - including a Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster bomber - performed a fly-past over Redcar, East Cleveland, on Saturday lunchtime as part of the town’s official commemorations for Armed Forces Day.

A parade was also held in Spennymoor, County Durham, to mark the occasion.

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The Battle of Britain planes had earlier flown over Whitby and Scarborough before heading up to Newcastle.

In addition to the fly-past, other highlights of Redcar’s celebrations included a parade, an aerial demonstration from a Tiger Moth bi-plane and a drill competition for tri-service cadets.

Olwyn Peters, Redcar & Cleveland Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “Armed Forces Day is an opportunity for us ‘civvies’ to show our appreciation for the fantastic job the Armed Forces do and show them how proud we are of them.”

The event was organised by Redcar’s Royal British Legion, Redcar & Cleveland Council and the town’s Rotary Club.

This year’s event also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, the 75th anniversary of the start of World War Two and the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Veteran, Eric Howden, chairman of the Redcar Royal British Legion and the council’s Armed Forces champion, said: “Too many people lost their lives for us to celebrate such events, but we must remember them and those that have lost their lives in more recent conflicts.”

The opening of the day’s events was followed by a service of remembrance.

In Spennymoor, veterans groups, dignitaries, cadets and clergy were among those paying their respects during a drumhead service.

The Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Sue Snowdon, also joined crowds at the event, in Jubilee Park, on Saturday.

Members of the clergy from all the churches in the town attended, with the town mayor, councillors, and veteran groups, including the Durham Light Infantry (DLI), Royal Signals, Royal Navy, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Air Force.

Parade marshal, Arnold Sanderson, who helped to organise the service, now in its third year, said: “It was absolutely fantastic.

“Everything went really well and the weather held off for us.”

*A memorial service to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One was held at St Peter’s Church, South Bank, Middlesbrough on Saturday. The service gave an overview of the history of the church set against the backdrop of the outbreak of the Great War. Mezzo-Soprano Anna Huntley sang “Keep the Home Fires Burning” and “Roses are Blooming in Picardy” and there were descriptions of local men who fought in the war, before a two-minute silence was held.