Orbit commemorates war heroes at Staffordshire development

Orbit has marked the completion of its Saxon Gate development in Lichfield with a commemorative event in honour of six soldiers from the former Staffordshire Regiment.

Orbit has marked the completion of its Saxon Gate development in Lichfield with a commemorative event in honour of six soldiers from the former Staffordshire Regiment.

The completion ceremony took place on Friday (9 August) at the 99-home Eastern Avenue development where six roads are named after recipients of the Victoria Cross (VC) and a further one is named after the Regiment’s mascot, a Staffordshire bull terrier called Watchman.

The Victoria Cross is one of the highest and most prestigious honours awarded to members of the British Armed Forces and the South Staffordshire Regiment soldiers and the mascot who are commemorated at the development are:-

Private Thomas Barratt VC                                         WWI                       Barratt Court

Major Robert Henry Cain VC                                      WWII                      Cain Close

Captain Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby VC MC                 WWI                       Kilby Avenue

Sergeant John Thomas VC                                        WWI                       Thomas Lane

Captain John Franks Vallentin VC                              WWI                       Vallentin Way

Private Samuel Wassall VC                                        Zulu War                 Wassall Lane

Watchman                                                                Mascot                   Watchman Close

Andrew McDermott, regional managing director at Orbit, who unveiled a plaque on the day, said: “As a supporter of the Armed Forces Covenant, Orbit is privileged to pay its respects to these six Victoria Cross recipients at Saxon Gate. This is a long-lasting tribute to those soldiers who fought for their country on behalf of the local regiment. We are honoured to commemorate these brave men in this way, and to have their names live on and be associated with the new community we have built in Lichfield.”

Orbit invited the families of those soldiers named at Saxon Gate to a special official opening ceremony, along with mascot Watchman and trustees of the Staffordshire Regiment Museum.  Representatives from Lichfield District Council, Homes England, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and Finance Birmingham also attended.

Saxon Gate is a development of 99 homes, 59 of which were built for affordable rent or sale. It comprises a selection of 1-4 bedroom homes, including apartments, terraced, semi-detached and detached houses. 

More than 50 guests attended the event and Andrew McDermott added: “We have built a thriving community at Saxon Gate, through a mixture of private sale and affordable tenures. The much-needed affordable homes proved particularly popular, with the majority taken within weeks of their release.  The development has a park at its core to create a focal point for the community along with plenty of green space to complement its open design.”

Chris Loughran, Deputy Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a prime example of how the Unlocking Stalled Housing Sites Fund is successfully accelerating much needed housing developments across the region.

“The provision of affordable and quality housing is essential to the continued economic growth of the region, retaining and attracting businesses and communities to Lichfield and surrounding Staffordshire area.”

In 2017, Orbit signed the Armed Forces Covenant to help Defence personnel into housing and employment. The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise to ensure that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.