A CHANCE viewing of a photograph led a businesswoman and her family to learn about their grandfather’s heroic past.

The Save Our Stute (SOS) group campaigning to save Shildon Railway Institute from permanent closure posted a tribute piece on Facebook on Remembrance Sunday.

A family then discovered their grandfather’s name was part of a permanent memorial to those that went off to fight for their country.

“If It hadn’t been for all the hard work from the Save Our Stute group, and posting on social media on Remembrance Sunday, then our family wouldn’t have realised there was a memorial in the institute, with our grandfather’s name on it,” said Kathryn Hume, owner of Bishop Auckland-based Forget Me Not Flower Designers and Flower School.

David Reynolds of the SOS group this year undertook the elbow-aching task of polishing the brass memorial on the staircase of the institute, to coincide with Remembrance Sunday.

Ms Hume saw pictures of the newly polished brass and said: “I’m sure that’s my grandad’s name on there.”

Further inquiries revealed that it was indeed the Hume family’s grandfather, John Gibbon, who was featured, along with many other Shildon residents.

Mr Reynolds dug further into Mr Gibbon's war service and found he was a machine gunner and private in the 5th Machine Gun Corps.

He enlisted in March 1916 and was first assigned to the 80th Training Reserve of the MGC which had previously been the 32nd Reserve Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers.

Ms Hume said: “I am especially grateful for all the work that SOS has carried out with the institute, work that has ignited my interest even more in my ancestors."

“I really hope this sparks others to click and zoom in on that photo on the SOS page on Facebook, to see if any of their ancestors are listed on the memorial who served in WW1.”

To donate to the SOS fundraiser visit crowdfunder.co.uk/save-our-stute-last-orders