VC hero’s name lives on in new East Durham park

Members of Dennis Donnini's family at the opening of the new park in Easington Colliery.
Members of Dennis Donnini's family at the opening of the new park in Easington Colliery.
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A war hero’s memory has been honoured after wasteland was transformed into a picturesque park.

Dennis Donnini was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) posthumously in his recognition of the part he played in winning World War II.

The Royal Scots Fusilier was 19 when he was ordered to attack a village in Germany.

Despite being wounded after he and others came under fire, he fought back, with his actions helping his troop overcome the enemy.

His actions led him to become the youngest to be awarded the VC.

Now Easington Regeneration Partnership has recognised his bravery by naming a new park in his home village of Easington Colliery after him.

It comes after Durham University worked alongside the authorities to add in compost and minerals to the former Pygals site.

The land was damaged by diesel and petrol, with concrete and other debris also left on the plot.

Dr David Boyes, who is chairman of the partnership and a county councillor for the area, said: “We are very proud of Dennis Donnini , he was an extremely brave young man.

“The park is named after him to recognise that.

“His family came for the opening and they were also very proud and we want to send a message to others about what bravery he showed.”

Karen Johnson, senior lecturer of environmental engineering at Durham University, helped lead the reclamation project.

She said: “It’s just fantastic to see it now as a dedicated area of space where grass is now growing and it has stunning views.”