A poignant tribute to fallen heroes has been installed in Southwick, after hardworking local councillors fought for a fitting memorial.

Two stunning ‘Poppy’ benches now stand on Southwick Green, after local Labour Councillors, Kelly Chequer, Alex Samuels and Michael Butler pushed for Sunderland City Council to improve the area surrounding the Cenotaph, a well-used focal point in the community.

The iron benches replace tired wooden benches, and improvements have also been made to surrounding landscaping, with shrubbery removed to tidy up the green.

The tributes depict soldiers at war and poppies, creating a stunning tribute to the nation’s fallen. They are in place in time for this year’s Remembrance Day, meaning people can quietly mourn those lost at the Cenotaph.

Local Labour councillor, Alex Samuels, said: “Veterans and the Armed Forces are very important to us the people of Southwick and the surrounding areas. You can see this in the increasingly large crowds that gather here at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday to remember their sacrifice for our country each year. We’re really proud to have a new focal point that the community can visit to pay their respects to those who died to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.

“We know this year will be a different Remembrance Day to others, as we fight a battle against COVID, but these benches will be used for years to come, as a place of quiet remembrance. We’re thrilled with how they look.”

Cllr Michael Butler said: “These new benches are a touching reminder of the many local people who have served for our country and continue to do so. We’re over the moon we could have these included as part of the wider regeneration we have secured for Southwick Green.”

The benches and improvements to the green are part of a record £100,000 investment into the area, something Labour councillors have lobbied for.

“The Green remains a popular part of our community, and we want it to be a place local people can be proud of,” added Councillor Butler.

“We are so pleased to have secured the funding to make this possible.”