Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Night for War Heroes Axed as Cuts Bite; Veterans' Celebration Has Been Running for 25 Years

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Night for War Heroes Axed as Cuts Bite; Veterans' Celebration Has Been Running for 25 Years

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW GLOVER

WAR veterans from Tyneside will miss out on their annual remembrance celebrations for the first time in 25 years.

Heroes who have bravely served the nation have met every November for a festival to honour fallen comrades and raise cash for services charities.

Hundreds of ex-servicemen and women head to the Lancastrian Suite in Dunston, Gateshead, for a night of military parades, marching bands and fundraising.

But organisers behind the Tyneside Festival of Remembrance say the event will not go ahead this year - with causes including the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal set to lose out on thousands of pounds in donations.

Military cutbacks and the rising costs of arranging the bash have forced the organising committee to make the tough decision not to arrange a 2011 event.

RAF veteran Sydney Graham is secretary of the organising committee and Newcastle chairman of the Royal Air Force Association.

Mr Graham, 68, said the event was "the highlight" of the year for many veterans.

He said: "It's kind of sad really and a sad reflection on Tyneside.

"It's been going for 25 years and it''s been enormously well supported by the community and the exservice community in particular. "At the Lancastrian Suite we've always sold out and had people clamouring for tickets.

"We've raised a phenomenal amount of money for the ex-services charities, most notably the Royal British Legion poppy appeal."

Mr Graham, from Cramlington, Northumberland, said the event usually raised around pounds 3,000 for the Poppy Appeal. He thanked the Lancastrian Suite for their help over the years and said the venue was provided for free.

The festival costs around pounds 1,000 to put on, with the amount spent on catering, printing of tickets and programmes and hospitality. Organisers now have to pay for a military band due to defence cuts. …

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