The popularity of an exhibition which captures a unique piece of North East history is to extend its run at a Sunderland museum.

The collection of wartime memorabilia and postcards which were rescued from a skip by staff at Sunderland’s Thompson Waste Centre went on show for the first time in November.

The exhibition, at Sunderland’s The Fans Museum at Monkwearmouth, was opened to coincide on 11 November – Armistice Day – and was due to run until 30 November.

But the display has proved so popular that the museum has now agreed that it will stay in place until the end of the year, allowing even more people to visit.

The items, which include a letter signed by Winston Churchill and a large, engraved medal, belonged to the family of John Cowie and his son, Henry, who died within days of each other during WWI.

It was by sheer chance that the suitcase containing a range of documents, plus dozens of postcards and others, were found by the Hendon waste centre workers, who immediately realised its historical value.

Anne Ganley, owner of Thompson Waste Centre at the Parade worked with museum founder, Michael Ganley, to ensure that these valuable items could be seen by the general public – along with members of the Cowie family.

“The exhibition is a real piece of Sunderland history that could have been lost forever,” said Anne.

“We are so delighted that it has created so much interest and that the museum has been kind enough to allow it to stay in place for another month so that even more people can see it.”

Michael Ganley hopes that the exhibition can become an annual event that can be added to, with even more stories about Sunderland families during WW1.

“We have had a great response so far,” he said.

“And it seemed a real shame to take it down so we are thrilled to keep all these rare pieces on show until the end of the year.”

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