Sunderland landmarks to be lit green to mark 125 years of the National Trust

Landmarks across Sunderland are being lit green this weekend to mark the 125th anniversary of the National Trust on 12 January 2020.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 9:01 am
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 9:01 am
Penshaw Monument when it was lit green to celebrate the return of Wicked to Sunderland Empire

Penshaw Monument, the Northern Spire bridge, Fulwell Mill, Seaburn Lighthouse, Keel Square, Market Square and High Street West are all being lit up in the colour of the National Trust to mark the occasion on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 January.

The conservation charity was founded in 1895 to preserve the nation’s heritage and open spaces for everyone to enjoy.

The lighting also commemorates the ongoing partnership between Sunderland City Council and the National Trust, which cares for some of the North East’s most historic attractions including Washington Old Hall, Souter Lighthouse and the Leas, five miles of coastline between Seaham and Horden and Penshaw Monument in Sunderland.

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The Grade I-listed monument, often referred to as ‘the first sign of home” for locals, dominates the skyline across Tyne and Wear and has been cared for by the National Trust for 80 years.

Sarah Murray, operations manager for National Trust Washington Old Hall, said: “The National Trust looks after several places in and around Sunderland including Penshaw Monument, Washington Old Hall and coastlines to make sure they are there for everyone to enjoy, forever.

“On our 125th anniversary, lighting up significant landmarks old and new across the city is a poignant reminder of the role nature and history plays in our modern, everyday lives.

“Spending time in nature brings benefits for mental wellbeing and physical health. This year the National Trust will run a year-long campaign to connect more people with nature.

“And the more people that connect with nature, the more they’ll look after it for future generations to benefit from.

“We can only achieve this with the support of others, and this lighting celebrates the ongoing partnership between Sunderland City Council and the National Trust to protect and showcase the landmarks, heritage and outdoor spaces that form such an iconic part of Sunderland’s identity.”

And every year Washington Old Hall hosts the July 4 celebrations in partnership with Sunderland City Council and Washington Academy, attracting hundreds of visitors from near and far who come to mark the occasion at the ancestral home of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America.

Councillor John Kelly, cabinet member for Communities and Culture at Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re delighted to be lighting landmarks across Sunderland to mark this very special birthday.

“The National Trust plays a vital role in helping protect and preserve our city’s heritage for everyone to enjoy and it’s only right that we should pay tribute to the fantastic work that they do.”

To find out more about the National Trust in the North East visit

In a speech to mark the 125th anniversary, National Trust Director General Hilary McGrady announced plans to plant 20 million trees over the next decade to tackle climate change and increase access to nature for hundreds of thousands of people.

As well as creating space for people to connect with nature, the charity has also vowed to continue work to reverse the decline in nature through a range of projects, including helping clean up the nation’s rivers and waterways, reintroduce species and repurpose land in favour of woodland and carbon sequestration.