Sunderland Ward

Brief History of the Sunderland Ward

Compiled by Sheila Hughes. If you have any information on the History of the Sunderland Ward or its members email:

1837-2000    2001-2007    2008-2009    2010-2012    2013


2001 Sunday 28th January 2001 was a special time for the Saints of Sunderland. With the complication of the renovating of the Sunderland Ward Chapel Elder John Maxwell the second counsellor in the Europe North area Presidency came to Dedicate the Chapel at the same time as the Ward conference. Elder Maxwell was once a member of the Sunderland Ward so this was also a special time for him and his family. 

Today 14th october 2001 Lee Gardner and Scott Gilderoy were both kill while travelling back from Scotland.  Lee the husband of Lucy Smith Gardner and Father of Charlotte was travelling from Scotland, on his motor bike with Scott as pillion  when a car overtook on the other side of the road and hit Lee and Scott head on killing Lee instantly and Scott died in Newcastle hospital later. Scott the husband of Lisa Watt Gilderoy had been a member of the Stanley ward until the marriage of Lisa in 2000.  Lee the husband of Lucy Smith and father of Charlotte.



Joseph Tyson Spence the son of Mavis and Leonard Spence died this year. Joseph suffered for cerebral palsy and spent most of his life in a wheel chair he was well loved by all the members of the Sunderland Ward. Joseph touched the lives of all those who knew him.


August 20th  2003 Elder John Hughes returned home from a two year mission in London South, Elder Hughes was the fifth son of Bishop Keith and Sheila Hughes.

18th September 2003 Wilf Hill died at 9.30am Wilf was the husband of the late Connie Maxwell Hill. They had two children Ashley and Malcolm .


25th March 2004 was the Funeral service of Mary Johnson the Mother of Grace Kennington, Mary was a member of the South Shields ward for most of her life she had served in most places it the ward and Stake. She was the first Stake Relief Society President when Sunderland became a Stake on the 17th March 1963. Mary was well known and loved by all the members of the Sunderland Stake.

24th October 2004 A Fireside was held in the Sunderland Chapel with President John and Sheila Maxwell the Temple President and Matron of the Preston Temple. Sister Maxwell encouraged Primaries to bring the children to the Temple, but to visit at a ward level rather than stake as there will be too many children.   She spoke of the spiritual experiences that could be enjoyed at the temple when performing work for our kindred dead. She also mentioned the roll of the Matron and her duties within the temple.
President Maxwell spoke about his history of temple attendance and how he changed from being a do it when I can to attending as many times as possible and for as long as possible.   He said temple attendance increased spirituality and assisted in the unity of the home and family life.

19th September 2004 Bishop Keith Hughes was released as Bishop with Councellors Robert Watt and Michael Bell. Bishop Hughes had served as Bishop in the Sunderland ward for over six years. Joseph Steward was call as the new Bishop of the Ward with Counselor Christopher Poulton as first counsellor and Craig Hancock as second counsellor.


18th January to 1st February 2005 was the life of Joshua Nigel Poulton. Joshua was the son of Nigel and Jen Poulton who lived such a short time and yet touched so many lives. 

5th May 2005.The Funeral service of Sister Margaret Ward was held in the Sunderland Chapel this day MARGARET WARD, daughter of Tom and Elizabeth Stevenson, born 7th May 1933 Sunderland. Baptised 22 July 1965 Sunderland by Elder Jackson, confirmed the same day by John Braithwaite. Wife to Captain Ward, who is not a of the Church.member. Margaret’s Grand son Adam is currently serving his two year mission in Arizona. Margaret was buried in the Sunderland Cemetery, Ryhope road.

24th September 2005 The Sunderland Ward Helping Hands

24th September 2005 The Ward Helping Hand was hard at work clearing up the Hylton Castle Dene. The Project was organised by the Relief Society President sis Julie Poulton. Sister Poulton organised a meeting with the Sunderland Council to see which project would benefit most by the Sunderland Ward Helping Hands, it was decided that the area surrounding the Hylton Castle would be the best project, it was in great need of the rubbish cleared from all the grassed and wooded areas round the Castle. The Saint work very hard during the day and fill two large trailers with the bags of rubbish, you could really see the difference at the end of the day. As a special treat we were all invited to see inside of the Hylton Castle.

September was also busy day for the primary children when they spent the whole day at the Sunderland museum, there was so much to see. They started with the winter gardens, the children enjoyed looking at all the large fish that live there. They then went on to see what it was like to live in Sunderland During the War years. To have a taste of what it would have been like to work down the Pit, and so much more. The day was organised by Sister Sharon Liddle the Primary President and her Counsellors Helen Hughes and Jessica Hughes 



 December Primary Nativity & Christmas Party



10th June 2006 The Sunderland and Billingham Institute Graduation was held at Sunderland this year. There were three members from Sunderland that graduated this year. John Hughes, Jonathan Gray and Michael Poulton.

8th September 2006. The Sunderland Ward activities committee Bro Robert Watt and Sis Nicky Hughes held a 1970’s disco and opened it to the Stake. There were prizes for the best costume, which was won by James and Marie Paterson, the best dancer won by Star Paterson. Everyone came dressed for the occasion which really added to the success of the night. There was an extra surprise for President John Braithwaite when everyone sang happy Birthday as he was also celebrating the 70’s it was his birthday today. The night finished with a Karaoke, this was where we saw some of the member excel themselves. There was a mountain of food which went down well. Everyone congratulated the ward activities committee for a good night.

Marie and James Paterson                                Silsa Hughes and


September Make a difference day was held at a Community Centre in Wingate. Wingate is a little village just outside of Hartlepool and on the main road through the village is a Community Centre this was where our make a difference day challenge was this year. The grounds were overgrown with weeds and it was the job of the Sunderland Ward members to make a difference to the gardens and paths a round the building. By the time the members who had been there from the 9.00am to 4.00pm had finished the pathways were all cleared and the gardens all ready to plant in the Springtime.


1st November 2006. Sister Jennie Steward organised a Halloween party for the Primary children. The children all came in fancy dress, and enjoy the party games sis Stewart had organised for them. The food was very good and not even the spiders on the plate could put the children off.


19th Nov 2006 The Sunderland Primary gave their Primary Presentation today. Each child gave a talk and after each talk they sang a Primary  song. The children that took part were Aaron and Jordon Liddle. Steven Cairns, Brandon Gray, Brian Mead, Bethany Liddle, Emma Leigh and Amy Poulton the leaders were President Lyn White, Counsellors Jenny Stewart, Sheila Hughes and Doreen Paterson the Music coordinator. The Presentation was exceptional each child said their part very well, and with confidence that everyone enjoyed the meeting.   

20th December 2006. The Young Men and Young Women invited all the Sunderland ward members that were over 60 to a Christmas party and Christmas evening buffet meal. The party was organised by sis Ann Bell the Young Womens President with her councillors Sis Elizabeth Poulton and Sis Pauline Gray. The Young Mens President was Bro David Hughes with Neil Whitley as is first councillor. The night started with a few Christmas Carols to get us in the Christmas Spirit, the we all went into the Hall where there was a beautiful spread laid out on the table. After the meal all the young men and women sang two Christmas carols for us, sis Star Paterson performed a beautiful dance routine that she had been taught at Dance classes. We then had a Christmas quiz organised by the Young Mens President David Hughes. It was a very good night everyone enjoyed the evening and thanked all the young men and women for such a good night.

22nd December 2006. The Sunderland Ward Christmas party was organised by Brother Robert Watt and Sister Nicky Hughes. The party was a special one this year as it was also a farewell to our Bishop Joseph Steward and his wife Jennie, they are leaving England on the 28th Dec to start a new life in Canada. Joseph has more of his family living there so it will be a big reunion there for them. The ward members thank Bishop Steward for all the work that he had done in the Sunderland Ward over the last two years, he was presented with some Canadian Dollars that all the members contributed to.

23rd December 2006. The Primary Children tried to make this a special day to some of the old people of Sunderland by going to an Old Peoples home to sing Christmas carols. The home that was chosen was St Luke’s in Pallion   Sunderland, one of our members live there Sis Jane Herron, Jane played the piano in the Sunderland Ward for many years, she taught many of the Sunderland Ward members to play the piano while they were young, so it was a real treat for Jane to see the Primary children and join in the carol singing. Jane who is well into her 90’s has not been well for the past two weeks so was unable to get to Church so this made her Christmas Eve very special. The children sang many of the traditional Christmas Carols and a few of the Church carols, The old people enjoyed so much joining in with all the singing that the other people in the up stairs sitting room heard the singing and asked if we could all go up stairs and sing to them as well. This Christmas was very special for the Primary children of the Sunderland Ward that I am sure they will remember it for years to come.


28th Mar 2007 The Relief Society President Helen Hughes organised a Relief Society birthday party for the sister, with the help of her counsellors Maureen Webb and Elizabeth Poulton. We were taken back in time where Emma Smith, acted by Edna Braithwaite she gave an account of the first Relief Society meeting.  

After a very spiritual meeting we ended the night with a few fun games.


Sylvia Stobbard                 Maureen Webb,        Elizabeth Poulton


7th July 2007. The Stake Primary organised an activity day in the Sunderland chapel.
There were many things for the children to do with Decorating boxes, making labels, sweet making, cake decorating, and games to finish off a great day.

8 July 2007. The Sunderland Ward finely got our new Bishop, with the release of Bishop Stewart as he was emigrating to Canada in December the ward has been with out a Bishop since. Christopher Poulton was looking after the Ward until a Bishop was called and under the circumstances he did a very good job. The new Bishop was Adam Jones with K. Andrew Hughes as second councillor, we are waiting to find out who the first Councillor will be.

5th 6th and 7th September was The Family Search on the road. The event was organised by Sister Crisp of the Stake Public Affairs. The first day was held for the Dignitaries of the Sunderland Stake area. Some of those that attended were Prof. David Harvey with his wife Dr. Joan Harvey, Brian Randal one of the founders of Genuki. Joan Sadler, Sue Wood Newcastle Archivist, Gill Johnson

Sunday 23rd September 2007 There was a weekend of activity this weekend at the Sunderland Stake House as they celebrated 40 years of the Dedication of the Chapel. The Celebration was opened to the whole of the Stake so they too could join in with the Anniversary Celebrations.

2 December 2007. The last of the Book of Mormon Gospel Discussion group was held this day. The group was formed by Andrew Hughes two years ago, each month on the first Sunday of each month the High Priest and Elders were each given a block of the Book of Mormon to read before the discussion and then they could bring out the points that they wanted to discuss. The discussion group has been very popular while studying the Book of Mormon that they have decided to continue with the group and discuss               

15th December 2007. The Primary Christmas party was held this day. The children’s party started with games, orgainised by Sister Lyn White the Primary President. Then the children enjoyed making snowmen with the help of Sisters Margaret Bate and Joan Gray. Then they all enjoyed a meal prepared by Sister Sheila Hughes. The highlight of the party was a visit from Santa “ the famous Stan Davies”.

22nd December 2007 The Sunderland Ward party was held this night. The night started in the Chapel with the story of  Mary and Joseph of how they were to be taxed and had to return to the place of there birth. Like these we were all asked to return to the city of David, were we to leave the Chapel and go into the Hall where we all witnessed the birth of the Saviour, this was the Primary children acting out the Navity. Everyone enjoyed joining in with the singing of the Christmas carols. The Hall was set out to look like a market town with the village on one side and the market on the other. The food was set out on market stalls, to give you a feeling that you were really in a market town. The idea of the night was Brother and Sister Christopher Poulton, with the help of  Brother and Sister Andrew Hughes.