Tyne & Wear

Newcastle Brown Ale memorial saved by church

Memorial plaque
Image caption The plaque pays tribute to brewers who lost their lives during war

A memorial to men who lost their lives during war, but also brewed the world famous Newcastle Brown Ale, has been saved by a Tyneside church.

The specially commissioned plaque was first installed at the Barrack Road brewery in Newcastle and then moved to the Dunston site in Gateshead before it closed its doors for good in 2010.

It has the company's blue star logo and pays tribute to 36 brewers who lost their lives during World War I and II.

Amid fears it would be lost forever, the memorial will have pride of place at St Andrew's Church in Newcastle.

Church warden Ray Blake was given the job of restoring the plaque.

He said: "It was completely dark brown. It has been out to the elements for a number of years and you couldn't read any of the names and the writing.

"But once I got some polish, and worked on the letters, they finally came up and they're beautiful now.

"We felt that our church, reputedly the oldest within the city, would be a fitting place for it to rest."

'So delighted'

The church is appealing for family members to get in touch with memories and photographs of the servicemen.

One who has already done so, is Margaret Hutchinson from Gateshead.

Image caption Across the bottom the plaque reads: "Their name liveth for evermore"

Her grandfather William Kirk had moved to Scotland to work at the brewery at the turn of the century.

He volunteered to fight in World War I and died of his wounds on 1 July 1917.

She still has the original telegram breaking the news which her grandmother received five days later and photographs of his grave in France.

Mrs Hutchinson said: "My aunt, who was just seven at the time remembers the day the telegram came.

"She had to run and get a neighbour because her mum collapsed with the shock.

"My Gran was left with four small children to raise on her own. They would be so delighted the plaque has been saved and has a new home in St Andrews Church. They lived not far from there in Jefferson Street."

Scottish and Newcastle bosses, the High Sheriff of Newcastle and British Legion and RAF members are all expected to attend the dedication service, due to start at 11:00 BST on Sunday, 6 November when the plaque will be blessed and hung in the Lady Chapel.

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