Two commemorative stones unveiled to recognise Ashington war heroes
07 Nov 2018 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
Commemorative stones were unveiled during a ceremony at Ashington memorial garden to recognise war heroes from the town.
One of the stones was unveiled by Councillor Dave Ledger, Armed Forces Champion, in recognition of 100 years since the Victoria Cross was awarded to Ashington soldier, Sergeant Hugh Cairns VC DCM.
Sergeant Cairns was born in Ashington before emigrating to Canada in 1911 with his family. He was the last Canadian soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery among troops of the British Empire.
Sergeant Cairns was awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery before dying of the wounds he received on the 2nd November 1918.
The commemorative VC stone is part of the UK Government’s First World War centenary campaign that has seen a total of 469 stones laid across towns and villages in the UK recognising, in their hometowns, all those who received a Victoria Cross during WWI.
A second stone, provided by The Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust, was unveiled by Councillor Marjorie Chambers, Civic Head of Ashington, dedicated to all of the units and personnel based at Ashington Airfield from 1916 to 1919 and the importance it played as part of Britain’s WW1 Home Defence Stations, in winning the conflict.
The ceremony was organised by Ashington Town Council in partnership with the Ashington Branch of the Royal British Legion and Northumberland County Council. The Service was led by the Reverend Michael Hedley, Minister of the Ashington Word of Life Wesleyan Reform Union Church and music was provided by Ashington Colliery Band.
Councillor Ledger said: “These stones are visual reminders of the debt we owe to our Armed Forces for living our daily lives in peace and commemorating our heroes is an opportunity to promote the values they stand for - courage, respect, integrity and pride.”
Councillor Marjorie Chambers, Civic Head of Ashington said: “It was an honour to unveil the stone in memory of Ashington Airfield and all of the local people who dedicated their lives to fighting the war for their country. We owe the service men and women of Ashington a lifetime debt of gratitude for their sacrifice; the commemorative stones at Ashington Memorial Garden are a fitting tribute and a reflective way for local residents to pay their own personal respects.”
Click here to find out more about the work Northumberland County Council do to support armed forces.