A POIGNANT tribute to the region's First World War dead was held in the region today on what would have been the first day of Britain's involvement in the conflict 100 years ago.

Stockton's Sunflower Project to plant a sunflower for each of the borough's 1,245 dead has captured the imagination and culminated in a second, moving event.

The Northern Echo:

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The 24-hour ceremony had started at Stockton's Parish Gardens at 11pm on Sunday when a 'home-fire' was lit at the war memorial to burn for 1,245 minutes, a minute for each of the dead.

Hundreds attended on Monday but even more came this evening in an event designed to bring together all generations and the people of Stockton.

Radio Tees presenter Ali Brownlee and editor of The Northern Echo Peter Barron both gave readings at the candlelit ceremony, which also involved music and community singing.

Mayor of Stockton, Cllr Barbara Inman, read the first of the names and volunteers across the borough continued the readings through to the early hours of this morning.

The Northern Echo:

She said: "So many people and their families lost their lives during the war. What a wonderful, moving way to help keep the memory of them alive today.”

Elsewhere, hundreds of people attended a ceremony at the war memorial in nearby Yarm, on Monday, where glass poppies designed by schoolchildren provided a dramatic focus for the event.

At Scruton, near Northallerton, the village marked the centenary as one of only 52 villages throughout the country who became known as Thankful Villages because they welcomed home all of their servicemen who went to war.

The Royal British Legion presented plaques to all of the villages - Scruton's plaque was erected in the porch of St Radegund’s Church.

Two ceremonies to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War were held in Richmond on on Monday. The first was attended by almost 300 people in the town’s Friary Gardens, who heard the names of all of those from Richmond killed in action.

In the evening, a service was held at St Mary’s Church which was attended by Military Police Red Caps, based in Catterick Garrison, along with town councillors and members of the public.

Also on Monday, more than 200 people joined civic guests at Sunderland Minster including the Bishop of Durham. The service included a commemorative address from the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Stuart Porthouse who mentioned not only the town's servicemen but the a Zeppelin raid on the town that killed 22 people.

At Castle Howard, near Malton, North Yorkshire a single light illuminated the gilt lantern, 70ft above the home’s impressive Great Hall.