New life for Hyl­ton Cas­tle...

Sunderland Echo - - Opinion - By Richard Ord

Six hun­dred years of his­tory was never go­ing to be de­stroyed by the hands of van­dals - the Sun­der­land com­mu­nity wouldn’t stand for it.

Not that Hyl­ton Cas­tle didn’t come close to suc­cumb­ing.

This his­toric site not too long ago was a mag­net for ne’er-do-wells.

Glue snif­fers, van­dals and ar­son­ists lay siege to the site, putting its fu­ture in real jeop­ardy.

Where hun­dreds of years of the fiercest el­e­ments to hit Sun­der­land failed to make a dent in the struc­ture, the van­dals nearly suc­ceed.

Thank­fully, the pub­lic’s af­fec­tion for the site and de­ter­mi­na­tion to turn it into some­thing use­ful for the com­mu­nity never waned.

Money may for some con­sid­er­able time may have been in short sup­ply, but the in­ter­est and af­fec­tion was al­ways there.

And it is that com­mu­nity spirit that is the lifeblood of the Cas­tle to­day.

Yes, there is to­day a £4.2mil­lion project to breathe new life into Hyl­ton Cas­tle, but it would be noth­ing with­out the sup­port of the com­mu­nity.

And, as we re­veal to­day, res­i­dents in Sun­der­land have been work­ing hard be­hind the scenes, with more than 120 peo­ple giv­ing up their own time to help trans­form the site.

Sun­der­land City Coun­cil Cab­i­net Mem­ber for Com­mu­ni­ties and Cul­ture, Coun­cil­lor John Kelly, said: “This project isn’t just about cel­e­brat­ing the his­tory of the cas­tle and grounds, it’s about cel­e­brat­ing the dif­fer­ent roles it has played as an iconic build­ing in the heart of the com­mu­nity and in the lives of the gen­er­a­tions of lo­cal peo­ple con­nected with it.”

Van­dals have been run out of town by vol­un­teers and we couldn’t be hap­pier. Long may it con­tinue.

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