Across our area there are many ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Extraordinary seems too inadequate a word to describe the heroism of Thomas Brown.  North Shields born and bred Thomas played a key role in capturing the Enigma Code books from a German Submarine. He was a 16 years old NAAFI canteen assistant whose story is remembered in a display in the Exchange.

The recent rededication of a stained glass window to Thomas Brown was a fitting beginning to a period of national remembrance.  During that time I stand proudly with veterans, their families and our wider community at memorials and services, remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Each year the crowds seem to get bigger and 2018 is of course the centenary of the end of the First World War. But the Royal British Legion’s Rethink Remembrance campaign is about more than remembering the fallen in two World Wars.  It is about supporting a new generation of veterans and service personnel, including those in the RAF who are playing a crucial role in the downfall of Islamic State.

Wearing a Poppy is about remembering those who lost their lives in war and the many more for whom war changed their lives entirely.  But it’s also about the commitment we make to today’s ex-servicemen and women to do our best for them in healthcare, housing, jobs and much more. We too will remember them.

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