Thousands of people across the country came together to remember the millions killed in the Holocaust and commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the former Nazi concentration camp in Poland.
Locally, Gateshead College hosted a special Holocaust Memorial Day at the Gateshead International Stadium, attended by sports personalities including triple paralympic champion Stephen Miller, Newcastle Thunder’s Mark Mexico and Gateshead Football Club’s Olly Ure and Thomas Marshall.
A flag was passed from person to person during a 15-minute relay race, which culminated in Stephen Miller taking it over the finishing line to symbolise the “passing on” of cherished memories and the start of a new era of liberation. The event was part of Gateshead College’s Holocaust memorial project, which includes free showings of The Book Thief movie set in Nazi Germany, and a book collection to mark the Nazi book-burnings. Money from the collection will be donated to Barnado’s children’s charity.
Tracey Hopwood, campus coordinator at Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport – which is based at Gateshead International Stadium, said: “The sports relay was one of many events that we staged to mark the 70th anniversary of such an important occasion in world history. I’d like to thank everybody who got involved, particularly Stephen Miller who has supported the college on several sporting and community initiatives.”
Stephen Miller is an official ambassador for sport at Gateshead College, which has twelve specialist academies in men’s and women’s football, athletics, basketball, boxing, cricket, rugby, netball, golf, judo, swimming and rowing. Academy of Sport students work with coaches to perfect their sporting skills whilst gaining academic and coaching qualifications in an environment which inspires them to achieve success.
Photo caption: Triple paralympic champion Stephen Miller (seated left, holding flag) leads the Gateshead College Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations at Gateshead International Stadium. Tracey Hopwood from the college is pictured (left), directly behind Stephen.