The family of a County Durham miner who has had a new £2.1 million affordable housing development named in his honour have given their approval to the scheme.
The family of George Parkinson travelled all the way from their home in Southampton to witness the official opening of the George Parkinson Court development in Sherburn Village.
Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA) has provided 16 two-bedroom bungalows for older people, with the help of a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
Speaking at the opening George’s great, great grandson, the Reverend Tony Parkinson, and his wife Ann, said his family were delighted and very proud to have the development named after him. To mark the occasion they brought with them an old miner’s lamp which was used by George’s father.
“It is nice to know that George’s name will live on through this development and that he has received recognition for his work and service to the community.”
George Parkinson was a former pitman, renowned Methodist preacher and a celebrated author, who lived from 1828 to 1913.
Gordon Parkin, DAMHA President, said: “This was a very challenging development as we were replacing 12 old one-bedroom homes with 16 modern two-bedroom bungalows, but we are delighted with the final result.
“We have managed to save and incorporate some of the original commemorative stones in the new development and all 16 bungalows were let very quickly.”
Sherburn councillor Carol Woods, who officially opened the development, said: “This development will be a huge asset to the community. It is right in the heart of the village which means it is easy for people to access the local amenities and I am sure the homes will be enjoyed by many generations.”
Resident Joyce Beresford, 85, said: “I can’t praise DAMHA enough for giving me such a lovely home, I have never been happier.”
DAMHA received grant funding of £840,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency, the housing and regeneration organisation for England, towards the £2.1 million cost of the scheme.
“This development will provide much-needed homes which are warmer and have less impact on the environment,” said Bill Carr, area manager at the HCA. “DAMHA has a strong track record of providing good quality homes for older people across the county.”
The project is one of a series of DAMHA housing schemes backed by the HCA, which has also supported developments at Consett, St. Helen Auckland and Bowburn.
The homes were built by Gateshead-based Able Construction and designed by Durham-based Brian Ashdown Architects, and DAMHA was assisted by the Isos Group and Lumsden Wood Partnership.