Killingworth cross rededicated in remembrance of the fallen of WWI

Killingworth new town's salavaged memorial cross is rededicated in remembrance of the fallen of WWI

John Hamilton, with the War memorial in Killingworth, near St. Johns Church
John Hamilton, with the War memorial in Killingworth, near St. Johns Church

A cross which was part of the development of a new town has been resurrected as a memorial to all who have died in the service of their local community.

The 12ft tall cross stood above the Communicare Centre, a landmark building in the centre of Killingworth New Town in North Tyneside.

The centre was built in the 1970s by the Killingworth Christian Council to provide leisure and support facilities for the community.

When the centre was demolished in 2007, the cross was saved and stored at St John’s Church in Killingworth.

It was re-erected on land between George Stephenson High School and the church, as communities nationwide marked the anniverary of the outbreak of WWI.

An information board has been installed which explains the Communicare concept and the part it played in the development of Killingworth.

The re-dedication ceremony was led by the Archdeacon of Northumberland, the Venerable Geoff Miller. There was also an address by Canon Peter Dodd, who came to the parish in 1967 and played a part in the Communicare Centre from its opening.

John Hamilton with left to right, Bob Mitchelson, Callum Richardson, 4, Liz Weightman and Maree Friend
John Hamilton with left to right, Bob Mitchelson, Callum Richardson, 4, Liz Weightman and Maree Friend
 

In 1914 the parish included the villages of Benton Square, Burradon, Dudley, Holystone, Killingworth, Palmersville, West Allotment and Westmoor.

Backworth Brass Band played Gresford,the miners’ anthem, in recognition of the fact that 85% of the 350 men from Killingworth Parish who died in the First World War were linked to mining.

The Killingworth World War 1 Commemoration Project - a partnership between local schools, Killingworth Local History Society and St John’s Church - is researching the 260 men named on the area’s war memorials.

The project is seeking lottery funds to involve the community and local schools in a programme to increase awareness and understanding of the impact of the war on the community.

Project co-ordinator John Hamilton said: ‘We promise that we will remember them, and the project will aim to help make that memory meaningful.”

The cross project has been funded by the Sir James Knott Trust, the North East Miners Social Welfare Trust Fund and Capita with Kier North East.

The Killingworth Christian Council was set up in the planning for Killingworth Township and included representatives of the Anglican, Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic churches.

It brought together the work of the health,social services,community welfare and development, and other support organisations

It was instrumental in opening the first Communicare House in Garth 4 in 1966 to give new residents access to all these organisations.

The cross stood above the ecumenical Church of the Holy Family which was at the centre of the Communicare complex in town centre.

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