We must not forget them

Father Stephern Edmonds (left) with Raymond Davison of Sunderland old Township Heritage Society who is reading an account of the Victoria Hall Disaster at the memorial service in Mowbray Park on Thursday.

Father Stephern Edmonds (left) with Raymond Davison of Sunderland old Township Heritage Society who is reading an account of the Victoria Hall Disaster at the memorial service in Mowbray Park on Thursday.

0
Have your say

WEARSIDERS gathered to mark the 128th anniversary of the Victoria Hall disaster.

Pupils read out the names of all 183 children who died in the 1883 tragedy as part of a moving service led by Father Stephen Edmonds.

Prayers were said and a wreath laid at the foot of the memorial, in Mowbray Park, by two pupils from Valley Road school.

Youngsters from Hudson Road, Southmoor and Sunderland High schools also took part.

Raymond Davison, of the Sunderland Old Township Heritage Society, said: “It is extremely important for us to commemorate this as it is something we have forgotten.

“Nothing has happened since 2002 when the memorial was moved. We feel there should be something to mark the occasion every year.”

The incident happened on June 16, 1883, when more than 1,000 children went to Victoria Hall to watch travelling entertainers Mr and Mrs Fay perform a variety show.

Youngsters were crushed after a rush towards the doors when it was announcement that every child would receive a present on leaving the building.

Tragically, the doors only opened inwards and there was only a gap for one person to leave at a time, causing a crush.

Darren Daymond, 40, from Sunderland, who came up with the idea for the service, said: “I would often walk through the park and it reminded me of what happened.

“I went back through the list of names of children that died and it bought me to tears.

“It really upset me that nothing was being done. It’s very important for the young people and the community to remember it.”