St Hilda’s Church, the parish church of The Headland, Hartlepool plays host to numerous Christmas Trees, each decorated by a community group, including young people from Throston Youth Club. Designs include screen printed envelopes containing first hand accounts from soldiers who took part in the Christmas Truce. Provided by the Martin Luther King Peace Committee, the text references the peace campaigns leading up to outbreak of war. The envelopes reference the letters wrote home to family and friends by the soldiers. A soldier from Gateshead, writing a letter on Christmas Day to a friend in Low Fell wrote:
“Last night the Germans lit up their trenches and started calling across merry Christmas. We responded in the same way and then we started singing songs to one another, carols etc. All shooting had stopped. We walked about the tops of the trenches and called out to one another. Then some of our chaps walked out and met some of the Germans half way, wishing each other a merry Christmas, shook hands and said they would not fight today.”
The hand made decorations designed by young people from Throston Youth Centre respond to these first hand accounts with printed Christmas gifts, symbolising the exchange of cigarettes and choclate between the so called enemy soldiers.