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ROT HOUNDA ‘ROT HOUND’ was let off the leash to help restoration work at one of Sunderland’s most important historic landmarks.

The dogs are trained to sniff out any odour of dry rot and decay in the timbers and structure of old buildings, and ‘Sam’ in the care of his handler Peter Monaghan, visited the Grade I listed Holy Trinity Church in the city’s historic East End to put his specialist canine skills to good use.

They were welcomed by Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly, and Year Five pupils from neighbouring Hudson Road Primary who were visiting the church to learn more about how it was built 300 years ago and been maintained over the generations.

​Schools from across the city have been invited to learn more about traditional craftsmen’s skills and building conservation techniques with workshops at Holy Trinity Church.

This included the chance to build a small stone wall with lime mortar, and learn more about  traditional tools and materials used to repair historic buildings during a behind the scenes tour of the church which was home to the Sunderland’s first town hall, first public library and even first fire engine.

Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture Councillor John Kelly said: “Holy Trinity Church is one of the oldest buildings in our city, and this an opportunity for the younger generation to learn more about the skills which built and maintained it to become such an important part of our cultural heritage.

“The Churches Conservation Trust bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund we support, is based on returning the building to the centre of community life as a cultural venue for educational and  social activities centre.

“Getting  young people involved is vital to the success of that bid, and I hope many more schools will become regular visitors to Holy Trinity Church to learn more about the huge part it played in the past and will hopefully play in the future of our city.”

Community activities at Holy Trinity Church, (Church Street East, Sunderland SR1 2BB) this month include ‘Cherishing the Buildings of the Past’ – How do we conserve and care for the historic buildings at the heart of our community’ on Thursday 10 May.

It’s which is a chance for people of all ages to find out more about the church and its conservation for future generations with two free sessions 2.30-3.30am and 5.30-6.30pm.

People can turn up on the day or book a place online at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hands-on-conservation-at-holy-trinity-church-sunderland-tickets-25102762037

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