Sunderland celebrates American Independence Day at Washington Old Hall

The Stars and Stripes were raised over Washington Old Hall, the ancestral home of the first American President, as part of Sunderland’s international celebrations for American Independence Day.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 16:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th July 2019, 17:21 pm
Crowds members got into the spirit of the celebrations

The event took place on Thursday, July 4 at 11am where crowds gathered on the ornamental gardens of the house and grounds to watch the American flag being raised alongside themed entertainment.

This years theme was based around ‘Welcome’ and guests took turns to share that message.

The flag was presented to Dr Carla Rigby by Washington Academy's Thomas Buckley

Chair of the Sunderland Youth Council, Luke Hall, read from the Declaration of Independence. Rebecca Lloyd of Washington Academy read from Martin Luther King’s “The Dream.” American guest, Albert Grady Esquire, spoke about the Washington and Blakiston families.

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Mayor of Sunderland, David Snowdon, had his say and there were some fantastic presentations with songs and performance from the children of George Washington Primary School, John F Kennedy Primary School and Broadway Junior School.

The event was organised on the day by General Manager of the National Trust, Mick Wilkes.

The crowd joined together with help from live music by City Swing to sing the American National Anthem while American guest Dr Carla Rigby raised the flag which was presented by Washington Academy’s Thomas Buckley who donned the Washington Grey’s uniform of George Washington’s bodyguards.

The Mayor of Sunderland, David Snowdon and Mayoress, Dianne Snowdon, with Dr Carla Rigby and Albert Grady, celebrated American Independence Day at Washington Old Hall

The Mayor of Sunderland, David Snowdon 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 proud to represent the people of Sunderland at this year’s event, as we celebrate our special relationship with the United States.

“It is an excellent time to reflect on the opportunities we can create through our international engagement.”

Local schools presented their 'welcome' performances to the crowd

Commemorating the Fourth of July is a tradition that began in the 1930s by Fred Hill the local school master who saved Washington Old Hall and it appears Sunderland locals enjoyed this years event as much as any other.

Crowds gathered to join American Independence Day celebrations at Washington Old Hall with live music from City Swing