TWO North East beaches will be part of Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea – a nationwide commission for 14-18 NOW – to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.

On November 11, thousands of people across the UK and Ireland will gather on seafronts to say thank you and goodbye to those whose lives were taken or changed forever by the First World War.

The public is invited to join the events on Roker beach, Sunderland, and Redcar beach from 12noon to 3pm, for a gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.

Sunderland Culture is leading on the events at the beaches. Each will be slightly different, but centres on the drawing of a large-scale portrait of a local casualty from the First World War, designed by sand artists, Sand In Your Eye, which will then be washed away as the tide comes in from 2.30pm.

Poet Carol Ann Duffy has been invited by Boyle to write a new poem – A Wound in Time - read by local voices and communities, which visitors will be able to listen to through silent disco headphones.

In addition, attendees will be able to leave their own mark by creating silhouettes of soldiers in the sand using stencils, symbolising the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict.

Danny Boyle said: “Beaches are truly public spaces, where nobody rules other than the tide. They seem the perfect place to gather and say a final goodbye and thank you to those whose lives were taken or forever changed by the First World War. I'm inviting people to watch as the faces of the fallen are etched in the sand, and for communities to come together to remember the sacrifices that were made.”

There will be other events taking place at both beaches on Sunday:

 Roker Beach, Sunderland

  • A unique Sunderland choir, assembled especially for Pages of the Sea and comprising local community singers, will perform ‘Look to the Sea’ by Heg Brignall, at 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, led by Catherine Stephens, of The Cornshed Sisters
  • A Northumberland Piper will perform live from 12noon to 3pm, and Easington Colliery Brass Band will perform from 1.30pm to 3pm
  • Kite-making experts Infinite Arts will hold a family-friendly, kite-making, drop-in workshop, and kites can be flown on the beach after being made

Redcar Beach

  • Acoustic folk-style music from local bands and performers to complement the event and add to the atmosphere
  • Audiences are invited to watch as Carol Ann Duffy’s poem is etched into the sand by calligraphy artist Angela Reed Creative Calligraphy alongside the soldier portrait
  • Poetry performances led by Teesside-based poets, Bob Beagrie and Andy Willoughby, will bring together a group of poets, Teesside Poetry Connexion, and students from Ryehill’s Academy in Redcar, to read works created with the students, and a mass-reading of the Carol Ann Duffy poem will take place at 3pm

And there are plenty of independent cafes and restaurants along the seafront where visitors can have a warming drink or a bite to eat.

The public is also invited to explore an online gallery of portraits of some of the men and women who served in the First World War, and select someone to say a personal goodbye to, either via social media or as they gather in person on beaches on November 11. The images are drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’, which aims to tell eight-million stories of those who served, from Britain and the Commonwealth. Visitors to the website can also add portraits of members of their family or community who contributed to the First World War.

Visit the Sunderland Culture Facebook page for further information: www.facebook.com/sunderlandculture/