A BENCH has been unveiled in tribute to a former Parade Marshal at an annual military event he started.

The seat, in memory of Arnold Sanderson, which was funded by his family, was officially dedicated in Jubilee Park, Carr Lane, Spennymoor, on Saturday.

It formed part of the Drumhead Service, which this year coincided with Armed Forces Day.

Mr Sanderson, who died in March, led the town’s Armistice Parade for 22 years and fundraised tirelessly for The Gurkha Welfare Trust to support veterans and their widows in the hills of Nepal.

His daughter Judith Richardson said: “It went well and was really lovely. Maura Regan, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, has some lovely words to say.

“They played The Last Post and the vicar said some kind words so it was a nice service.

“We chose that spot for the bench because of the Drumhead Service and he was major part of that each year.

“He will always be a part of it and it will be nice for us to be able to go here and remember him.”

Mr Sanderson’s friend Bill Foster, who helped him raise funds for the Gurkha Welfare Trust, introduced the Drumhead Service to Spennymoor after attending a similar service in Kent almost a decade ago and Mr Sanderson helped to organise what is now an annual event.

Born and raised in Spennymoor, Mr Sanderson has raised more than £50,000 for charity to support Gurkha veterans and their dependents.

He trained as a joiner after school, but was conscripted into the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and saw active service in Egypt where he was one of the few conscripted soldiers to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

His respect for the Armed Forces never left him and for 22 years, Mr Sanderson was the parade marshal for Spennymoor’s Armistice Parade.

Mrs Richardson said: “My dad loved Spennymoor and he did a lot for the town.

“That was my dad. Anything to do with the military in the town and my dad was always there, organising it.

“It was nice because this year it was Armed Forces Day as well, and we were lucky with the weather.

“He would have loved it.”