Local housebuilder, Barratt Homes North East, recently unveiled a new street in tribute to WW1 War Veteran, William Forster, who was born and lived on the site on which Barratt’s Teal Park Farm development now sits. An official unveiling ceremony was held at the site to announce the naming of ‘William Forster Close’ in honour of the soldier who was tragically killed during The First World War. In addition to the commemorative street name, Barratt Homes have also made a donation to SSAFA, who provide practical and emotional support for serving personnel, veterans and military families across the UK and worldwide, to mark the occasion.
On the day of the street naming ceremony, Deputy Mayor of The City of Sunderland David Snowdon, Councillor Tony Taylor of Washington East, Councillor Graeme Miller Leader of Sunderland City Council and Member for Washington South, local historian, Peter Welsh, and members of the public all gathered at Teal Park Farm for the unveiling of the commemorative street sign. The visitors were greeted by Barratt North East’s Development Director, Neil Milburn, alongside Teal Park Farm sales adviser Grace Ford.
Peter Welsh gave a stirring speech in memory of William Forster, his brother John Douglas Forster who served in the Dorsetshire Regiment, and the 179 men of Washington who never came home. He was joined by the Deputy Mayor for the formal ribbon cutting to officially open the street.
William Forster, who was born in 1890, grew up in Washington to work alongside his father in the Chemical Works before joining the army in 1914 at the age of 24. He joined the Yorkshire Regiment and went to France in August 1915, but his time there was tragically short and he died of wounds in Rouen just a year later in August 1916. William Forster and his brother are named on the Washington Village memorial.
Neil Milburn, Development Director at Barratt Homes North East stated: “We were delighted to learn about the life of William Forster and to honour this extremely important centenary date with the opening of our brand new street in his name. It is so important to us that we create links with and cherish the stories of our local community, and we hope that this memorial goes some way towards commemorating and honouring the veterans of WW1.”
David Snowdon, Deputy Mayor of Sunderland City Council, commented: “We’d like to thank Barratt Homes for the wonderful commemorative street to symbolise the heroic actions of William Forster and the fellow soldiers from this area who laid down their lives over one hundred years ago. It’s so important to the people of Sunderland that we continue to remember them, especially at this significant time of the year.”