First World War memorial takes pride of place in club

A new home for a World War One memorial board at the Royal Artillery Club in Mary Street, Sunderland.
A new home for a World War One memorial board at the Royal Artillery Club in Mary Street, Sunderland.
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A FIRST World War memorial board found languishing in a cellar has been renovated and given a new home thanks to Wearside’s service veterans.

The Venerable Bede Church Memorial Board was previously in the cellar of All Saints Church in 2009.

The Venerable Bede Church Memorial Board

The Venerable Bede Church Memorial Board

It was put there when the Venerable Bede Church, which was in Newcastle Road, was demolished in the 1960s.

After a rededication service by HRH the Duke of Kent, who is president of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, it was then displayed in Monkwearmouth Library until its closure in 2013 and then in exhibitions to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

Graham Hall, chairman of Sunderland Armed Forces Network (SAFN), has led a project to get the piece restored and it now takes pride of place on the wall at the Royal Artillery Club, in Mary Street.

“I was told about the board by family members when I was a councillor in the St Peter’s Ward,” said Mr Hall.

“Having served in the army myself, I was disappointed to see the condition it was in.

“Some of the surviving family members of the 160 men and one woman mentioned on the board contributed to the renovation along with a generous contribution from the Sir Tom Cowie Trust.”

Asked about other memorials which are in need of repair, Mr Hall said: “It never ceases to amaze me how many memorials and plaques get hidden in storage, cupboards, or in cellars either through neglect or allegedly being saved for prosperity.

“These memorials need to be on public show to remember those who have sacrificed their lives as well as the impact on the city itself.

“These memorials were designed for show not to be hidden in cupboards or cellars they are important part of our local history and should be respected and used as they were intended not hidden.”

SAFN would like to hear of any plaque or memorial board that needs renovation so that it can be put on public show.

They have identified a number of locations where they can be put after renovation.

To find out more, call Mr Hall on 07711184444 or go to www.safn.org.uk.