A PLAQUE commemorating the planting of eight lime trees to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee has been unveiled at an historic site in Darlington.

The trees were planted at Sir ED Walker Homes, as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, marking Her Majesty’s 70-year reign.

Bob and Ethel Hirst, the longest serving residents on the site, were given the honour of unveiling the commemorative plaque in front of civic dignitaries, residents and members of the Board of Trustees.

In a welcoming speech, Board Chairman, Alasdair MacConachie, said: “The Platinum Jubilee offers us an opportunity to express our thanks to Her Majesty and to celebrate her seven decades of unwavering public service – an exceptional achievement”.

“Here at Sir ED Walker homes, we enjoy a special community spirit, and we are looking forward to enhancing the homes in the coming years.”

After the plaque was unveiled in the grounds, residents were treated to an afternoon tea, alongside VIP guests, including the new Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Anne-Marie Curry; Darlington MP Peter Gibson; new council leader, Councillor Jonathan Dulston; and former council leader, Heather Scott, who has been ward councillor since 1976.

The Mayor commented: “What’s really lovely is to be among people who can remember when The Queen’s reign began 70 years ago, and it must bring back special memories.”

Mr Gibson said: “Sir ED Walker Homes has a very special place in Darlington’s history, and it’s wonderful to see how the community here is celebrating the Platinum Jubilee and actively participating in creating The Queen’s Green Canopy.”

Councillor Dulston described Sir Ed Walker Homes as “a really special place for people to spend their later years”. He added: “I’m blown away by a sense of community spirit that embodies what we want for all of our residents.”

 Councillor Scott said: “It’s been a fantastic occasion and the residents have clearly enjoyed being part of a lovely way to commemorate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.”

The development was created in 1928 following a bequest from the estate of Sir Edward Daniel Walker, a former Mayor of Darlington and local businessman. The 55 bungalows, designated as almshouses, were originally for the “poor and needy of Darlington” but now provide safe accommodation for older people capable of independent living.

Archives at the site include photographs of Prince George visiting Sir ED Walker homes on May 5, 1933 – the day he opened Darlington Memorial Hospital.