A WAR hero is to be honoured when a new hospital building opens in his name.
Second World War pilot Cyril Joe Barton VC saved dozens of lives when he managed to steer his damaged Halifax bomber away from Ryhope.
The 22-year-old was flying back from a raid in Germany when it was hit by enemy fire.
With one engine working the plane limped over Wearside. He flew it clear of the pit village and landed in a field.
Mr Barton died when the plane crashed. Three of his crew members survived.
The central facilities building at the new mental health hospital – replacing Cherry Knowle Hospital – will be named after the hero.
The hospital itself will be called Hopewood Park.
Fiona Standfield, acting trust chairwoman for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Cyril was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for heroic actions during a war-time flying mission.
“He saved many lives in Ryhope by avoiding the village and pit head when crash landing his badly-damaged Halifax bomber.
“We are therefore very pleased to commemorate him by naming the central building in the new hospital The Barton Centre.”
Hopewood Park, due to open in summer 2014, will have 137 patient beds.
It is part of the £60million Pride Project scheme, which includes the building of a specialist dementia care unit at Monkwearmouth Hospital, Newcastle Road.
Fiona, said: “We felt that a new hospital deserved a new name.
“Hopewood Park has been inspired by the natural landscape as well as partly being extracted from the word Ryhope.
“Ryhope’s origins lie in the Old English words for ‘rough valley’, describing the densely wooded Ryhope Dene through which a stream flows before joining the sea.
“The word Park emphasises the site’s feeling of open space and landscaping with views over the North Sea.
The hospital, under construction, will provide urgent care, assessment and treatment for older people’s functional mental illness, rehabilitation and psychiatric intensive care.