Sunderland to salute city’s Victoria Cross winner

The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Barry Curran and his wife Carol with Coun. Ellen Ball chair of the East Area Committee and Kylie Ann Ford of Theatre Space NE pictured watch other members of Theatre Space North East in First World War costume ahead of this coming weekend events promoting Sunderland Hero George Maling VC. Pictured l-r are David John Hopper, Dale Jewitt,  and Christopher Strain.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Barry Curran and his wife Carol with Coun. Ellen Ball chair of the East Area Committee and Kylie Ann Ford of Theatre Space NE pictured watch other members of Theatre Space North East in First World War costume ahead of this coming weekend events promoting Sunderland Hero George Maling VC. Pictured l-r are David John Hopper, Dale Jewitt, and Christopher Strain.
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The courage of Sunderland’s only First World War Victoria Cross winner will be remembered this weekend.

Friday marks 100 years to the day since George Maling received the British military’s highest honour for the tremendous bravery he displayed in saving the lives of more than 300 people while serving in the Royal Medical Corps under heavy shell fire during the Battle of Loos.

George Maling VC

George Maling VC

Civic commemoration began last month, with the installation of a ‘Blue Plaque’ at his birthplace Carlton House in Mowbray Road.

It will culminate with the laying of a memorial paving stone at the cenotaph in Burdon Road between 10am and 10.30am on Friday, followed by a weekend of themed events and activities in Mowbray Park and the Museum and Winter Gardens.

The installation of the plaque and this weekend’s programme of events and activities have been supported by Sunderland City Council’s East Area Committee. Chairman Coun Ellen Bell said: “We wanted to help commemorate the bravery of one of our most famous residents George Maling VC, by supporting a programme of events and activities telling his story and celebrating his life.

​“His story is one to inspire present and future generations in the city and the community where he was born and bought up, and I hope everyone will join us with their families and friends on Friday and over the weekend to get involved in paying tribute to his memory in a number of ways.”

The presence of his family will make the occasion even more special.

Coun Curran

George Maling was born in Sunderland in 1888, the son of a general practitioner, and was part of the Maling pottery family.

Grandson David and his wife Jenny will travel from their home in Cornwall to join Mayor of Sunderland Coun Barry Curran and guests at Friday’s unveiling ceremony.

“I am honoured to represent the people of our city at this civic commemoration of one of our bravest citizens, and hope that everyone will come along to join us and support this event,” said Coun Curran.

“The presence of his family will make the occasion even more special, and I am looking forward to meeting and welcoming them back to Sunderland to be involved in the ceremony to create a permanent reminder of the bravery of George Maling VC.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Barry Curran and his wife Carol with Coun. Ellen Ball (right) chair of the East Area Committee, pictured with members of Theatre Space North East in First World War costume ahead of this coming weekend events promoting Sunderland Hero George Maling VC. Pictured l-r are David John Hopper, Dale Jewitt,  and Christopher Strain.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Barry Curran and his wife Carol with Coun. Ellen Ball (right) chair of the East Area Committee, pictured with members of Theatre Space North East in First World War costume ahead of this coming weekend events promoting Sunderland Hero George Maling VC. Pictured l-r are David John Hopper, Dale Jewitt, and Christopher Strain.

“We’ll be joined by guests including Julie Elliot MP, representatives from the military and veteran’s groups and many of my City Council colleagues with music provided by Sunderland High School.

“The ‘Last Post’ will also be sounded by buglers before one minute’s silence to commemorate the bravery of George Maling and the many other people from our city who have served this country with such distinction in its hour of need.”

The commemorative paving stone is one of a number across the country commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government as reminders First World War VC winners.