I’ve been to Ypres and the Somme several times, but each time I go I find the visit equally intense and emotional as I think about the ultimate sacrifice made by so many young men (and some not so young) so that we might have the freedoms we enjoy today. My own paternal grandfather was gassed on the Western Front and a great uncle died at sea during the war. My other grandfather died in the Second World War and my dad served in the RAF. So it was a great honour to represent Shildon as mayor on Friday morning at the ceremony at the DLI Chapel in Durham Cathedral that took place before the British Legion Bikers set off on their 750 mile pilgrimage. I couldn’t take part in the ride as I hoped due to a chest infection, but I represented Shildon at the Requiem Mass on Saturday at the cathedral, accompanied by Councillor Henry Nicholson as consort. I laid a small cross in the DLI Chapel on behalf of the people of Shildon, in remembrance of all who died, including our own Private William Ewebank, who died of shrapnel wounds just prior to the battle on June 22nd. William was only 20, and had worked at the LNER depot as an oiler. May he and all his comrades rest in peace. They would have been so proud to know that 20 young people from Greenfield School (10 from the Sunnydale Campus) represented County Durham at the ceremony that took place at Thiepval in the presence of members of the royal family on July 1st and to know that they have not been forgotten.