Stars and Stripes fly over Sunderland as Independence Day celebrations return to Washington Old Hall

The Stars and Stripes are once more flying over Washington Old Hall as Wearside celebrated its transatlantic links on July 4.

Independence Day celebrations are an annual tradition at the historic property, which is the ancestral home of first American president George Washington.

Sunderland also has more modern links with the USA, and has had a Friendship Agreement with the US capital Washington DC since 2006But public celebrations at the hall had been cancelled for the past two years because of Covid-19.The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Alison Smith welcomed visitors from both the UK and the USA as events returned for 2022 with the theme of ‘bounce back ability’.Among the guests were pupils from four Washington schools - Washington Academy, JFK Primary School, George Washington Primary School and Broadway Junior School.The United States was represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Hyperdrive Innovation and Senior Vice President of Turntide Technologies, Chris Pennison.

The American-owned advanced manufacturing company is one of several US employers based in and around Washington and Sunderland.Mr Pennison said: "It is an honour to have been asked to raise the flag of the United Sates today at Washington Old Hall in celebration to mark America’s Independence Day."The local links that we have as Turntide Transport with our American parent company shows what ‘a special relationship' both countries have."The Energy Storage Systems manufactured at our Sunderland facility are currently in use around the world and as we forge our links with the United States, we continue this relationship."Being a key player in the local community in and around Washington with our Hyperdrive facility, it continues to be an honour to watch the business grow across both continents."The Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Smith said: "The annual Fourth of July celebrations are an annual reminder of Sunderland’s close economic and cultural ties with America and its capital city, and our Friendship Agreement with Washington DC."As Mayor I am pleased and proud to represent the people of Sunderland at this year’s event that celebrates our special relationship with the United States. It is an excellent time to reflect on the opportunities we can create through our international engagement."Post pandemic, the City Council and its partners are continuing to develop business and cultural links with the US including a seventh Sunderland Shorts Film Festival.National Trust and Operations Manager at Washington Old Hall, Sarah Murray added: "Washington Old Hall is the original medieval home of George Washington's direct ancestors, so we always enjoy celebrating the Fourth of July, welcoming friends and supporters from near and far."One of the annual highlights of this event are the songs, plays and sketches performed by local schools and once again this year, the pupils were outstanding."

The Stars and Stripes are flying over Sunderland once more.
Presention by John F. Kennedy School at the Independence day celebrations at Washington Old Hall, July 4th 2022
Pictured l-r back row, Chris Pennison CEO Hyperdrive Innovation, The Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Alison Smith, The Mayors Consort David Smith an local school children at the Independence day celebrations at Washington Old Hall, July 4th 2022
Chris Pennison CEO Hyperdrive Innovation, hoisting the Stars and Stripes at the Independence day celebrations at Washington Old Hall, July 4th 2022
Independence day celebrations at Washington Old Hall, July 4th 2022
Independence day celebrations at Washington Old Hall, July 4th 2022