YMCA workers joining hundreds at Remembrance service

YMCA workers Don Irving and Colin Raistrick.
YMCA workers Don Irving and Colin Raistrick.

Two YMCA workers will join Royals and other dignitaries at a special Armistice service.

Don Irving, youth and play manager, and Colin Raistrick, head of operations at YMCA North Tyneside, will be among those attending the National Service of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on Sunday.

Colin said: “It is a great historic occasion and one feels honoured that the present members of YMCA can be representative of the great service that YMCA volunteers gave to the welfare of armed forces in local YMCA centres and in the huts that were established overseas.

“Long forgotten is the efforts YMCA workers did in comforting the injured and how they would make every effort to get a photograph of loved ones to the injured.”

YMCA North Tyneside has used the centenary of the First World War to explore the effect of the war on young people and was supported in this work by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Don said: “The Armistice didn’t bring an end to the work that YMCA was doing, it simply changed direction, and focused more on support of communities back home, something it is still doing.

“One thing we are exploring this coming year, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, is how the local YMCA welcomed home people from the war.

“We do know that in North Shields a big event was held on 9th September 1919 to present scrolls as a token of admiration and gratitude for services nobly rendered and to commemorate peace and to express welcome home.

“We are keen to discover if any scrolls still exist. Our initial research has found a photograph of one and an original which is loving preserved by the Dodds family. We believe over 600 scrolls were issued, so it would be great to find some more.”