Ribbon cut at housing development named after sporting icon

Ribbon cut at housing development named after sporting icon
19 July 2018

Family members of a Second World War hero who became a sporting icon were proud to witness the dedication of a road in his honour.

While serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force, Ontario-born Earl Carlson spent much of the war as part of the groundcrew at RAF Middleton St George, which is now Durham Tees Valley Airport.

At the end of the war, and having met his future wife Cathy while stationed in Darlington, Earl turned his attentions to one of his greatest passions – sport.

The couple settled in Darlington and Earl was a founder member of the Durham Wasps ice hockey team and dazzled crowds with his record-breaking feats – son Robert described him as ice hockey’s equivalent to footballing superstar George Best.

A ribbon was cut at Earl Carlson Grove, part of Darlington Borough Council’s new council housing development at Allington Way, on Wednesday (18 July) afternoon.

Most of the 62 properties on Earl Carlson Grove are now occupied, with tenants also invited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Mr Carlson’s family brought along memorabilia from his life and career, to give residents an insight into the man who gave his name to their new street.

Councillor Bill Dixon, who cut the ribbon in one of his final duties before standing down as Leader of the Council, said: “There is a proud tradition in Darlington, of naming streets after all kinds of heroes – particularly those from a military or sporting background.

“I’m thinking, in particular, of nearby McMullen Road, named after the hero pilot William McMullen, and Greener Drive, on the site of the former Feethams football ground, which honours Quakers legend Ron Greener.

“So when Earl Carlson’s family contacted the council to suggest we name a street in his honour, it really was a no-brainer.”

Robert Carlson, one of a large contingent of family members in attendance at the dedication of the street named after his father, said: “We’re very proud and privileged, and we’d like to thank the Council for agreeing to name the street after Earl. We were delighted to be invited to the ribbon cutting – we still live in the town and it will be lovely to pass by and give it a wave.

“It’s a shame mam and dad aren’t still alive to see it – they would have been very proud. Dad was actually a very shy, but when he put on his skates and took to the ice he was a different man.”

Rob Pearson, General Manager, Homes England – North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Homes England is pleased to see the opening of the Earl Carlson Grove development, in Darlington. It is wonderful to be working in partnership with Darlington Borough Council to create this new development of 62 homes, offering 20 houses and 42 apartments for rent.

“This is an excellent example of Homes England helping communities to provide affordable housing using £1.24 million of the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme. We look forward to continuing our work with the Council to deliver more affordable homes in the future.”

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