1. ITV Report

South Shields to hold Anzac Day service

The John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial statue in South Shields Credit: ITV

A special service is being held in South Shields on Thursday morning to mark Anzac Day.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Eileen Leask, will lay a wreath at the John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial statue on Ocean Road in the town centre. The event, which starts at 10:45am, will be attended by local dignitaries and pupils from Lord Blyton School in South Shields.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

South Shields has a lasting connection to the Anzac's due to local hero, John Simpson Kirkpatrick who was born in the town 1892. Kirkpatrick was a field ambulance stretcher bearer who - along with his donkey known as 'Duffy' - rescued more than 300 Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli, before being killed by a sniper on 19th May 1915.

Kirkpatrick, who became known as 'The Man with the Donkey', had statues erected in his honour at both South Shields and the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Australia.

Stretcher bearer John Simpson Kirkpatrick and his donkey saved more than 300 wounded soldiers at Gallipoli during WWI Credit: Australian War Memorial