Washington Old Hall welcomed some very special guests to this year’s American Independence Day celebrations, at the ancestral home of the country’s first President.

Joining the Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Lynda Scanlan, and representatives from the National Trust, Friends of Washington Old Hall, Sunderland Youth Parliament and pupils from several local schools, were American representatives from Tudor Place, the home of the granddaughter of Martha Washington, George Washington’s wife.

The guests of honour from America helped carry out the traditional flag raising in the gardens of The National Trust’s Washington Old Hall, as all those assembled sang the American national anthem.

Adding to the occasion is the fact that the flag being raised is the same one which flew over the American home of George Washington, Mount Vernon in Virginia, on US national Flag Day earlier this year.

Executive Director of Tudor Place, Mark Hudson said: “We were thrilled to join the National Trust and Sunderland City Council for this special event at Washington Old Hall and thought it was fitting to use an American flag from Mount Vernon.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Scanlan said: “As a city we are all very proud of our Friendship Agreement with Washington DC, and of our community’s close cultural ties with America and its capital city.

“I’m honoured as Mayor to welcome our special guests from Tudor Place to this year’s event, and delighted that our unique historic connection with Washington DC continues to open up opportunities like the partnership between Tudor Place and Washington Old Hall, and create real benefits for both our communities.

“The visit from Tudor Place is part of a project supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and follows an outgoing visit by members of the Washington Old Hall team to Tudor Place in June of this year.”

Pupils from Washington Academy, JFK Primary, George Washington Primary and Broadway Junior Schools were among other guests helping the residents of Sunderland celebrate the 4th July.

National Trust and Operations Manager at Washington Old Hall, Sarah Murray added:  “Every year we enjoy the 4th of July ceremony and it is wonderful to welcome our new friends from Tudor Place in Washington DC. Separated by the Atlantic Ocean our two historic homes and garden share many similarities not least the lasting legacy of George Washington

“We are celebrating friendship and shared aspirations. The school presentations are always a highlight. To hear a fresh take on the themes of freedom and liberty can be inspiring and bring the day to life for everyone involved. “