Memorial dating back to 1920 is returned

A specially commissioned war memorial to commemorate former pupils and staff at a Bedlington school who gave their lives during World War One, has been returned to the school.

In 1920 Whitley Memorial School commissioned the creation of the memorial which was dedicated by the Bishop of Durham and put on display in the school.

Bedlington's Whitley Memorial C of E School pupils see visitors from the Netherlands bring the original World War 1 memorial school plaque back for a loan (back three-left to right) Lucas Van Stalborch, Bert Van Stalborch,      Anne-Marie Ke and Elz Van Stalborch.'REF 1706130027

Bedlington's Whitley Memorial C of E School pupils see visitors from the Netherlands bring the original World War 1 memorial school plaque back for a loan (back three-left to right) Lucas Van Stalborch, Bert Van Stalborch, Anne-Marie Ke and Elz Van Stalborch.'REF 1706130027

The memorial remained on show until 1970 when the school suffered a major fire where all the records were destroyed – and it was thought the memorial was destroyed at the same time.

Chair of governors Michael Eldridge said: “It was then a great surprise to the school, when on March 17, we received an email from Anne-Marieke van Stalborch, explaining that some time ago her parents had bought the plaque from an antiques dealer in Holland, with the name of the school on it.

“The dealer had told them it had been recovered from a school in Scotland which had been burnt down.”

The new owners had made several attempts to research the name, but were unsuccessful until recently they stumbled upon the Whitley Memorial web site and contacted the school.

“The family expressed a wish to donate the memorial to the school,” he added.

“We will perhaps never know how it was taken from the burning school or how it got to Holland, but Whitley Memorial School are delighted to have it back.”

It will now be displayed in the school until June 17, and it is intended that the memorial will be displayed in St Cuthbert’s Church.