£50,000 for celebrations to mark 50th anniversary of Washington new town

Councillor Bernie Scaplehorn
Councillor Bernie Scaplehorn
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CELEBRATIONS to mark 50 years of Washington’s new town status have been given a council boost of £50,000.

The grant was this week approved by councillors and will now go towards helping commemorate this year’s milestone.

Washington West councillor Bernie Scaplehorn, also chairman of Sunderland City Council’s area committee for the town, said: “It is important that these 50 years are celebrated.

“It is very much down to community groups and the people of Washington to decide how this money is spent and what form the celebrations take.

“But it is important that something long-lasting is created and that the funding does not go solely on things like street parties.

“We want to create something that will enhance Washington for the future.”

Plans to mark the anniversary are in their early stages, but a commemorative event is being pencilled in for September to coincide with Washington’s annual heritage festival. Council chiefs are now calling on residents to put forward ideas about how best to celebrate the milestone.

These could include street celebrations or tea parties.

Although based around a historic centre, the villages that make up Washington formed one of the second wave of new towns created between 1961 and 1964.

They helped to accommodate a rise in population following the Second World War.

The new town is divided into 15 districts.

Coun Scaplehorn added: “We would like the whole of Washington to celebrate.

“It is up to organisations to come forward and let the council know what it is that they would like to do.

“The council will help with the administration, but it’s really up to the people of the town to say what they want.

“Washington has a great community spirit, and it is an occasion very much worth celebrating.”