New bid to name school after Rushden VC hero

A petition has been launched calling for a new school to be named after a VC hero from the First World War.

Calls have been made for the 420-pupil primary school being built in Goulsbra Road, Rushden, to be named after Lt Col Bernard Vann VC.

The town’s Royal British Legion wants recognition for the Rushden-born soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

In the Legion’s latest newsletter, it states: “Many people may not be aware that there is not a street, road, house, garden, park or anything in Rushden that represents Bernard Vann’s name, save for the blue plaque on 46 High Street South that marks where he was born, and of course the War Memorial.

“There are other people who are no longer with us, but unquestionably earned the honour of having roads named after them, such as Maye Dicks Road, John Clark Way and Goulsbra Road, yet Bernard Vann VC made the ultimate sacrifice with little to show for it other than the deep pride his relatives have of him today.

“This wrong must be righted and what a more appropriate time than now, the centenary of World War One.”

The school, due to open in September 2015, will be run by the Dale Green Foundation Trust based in Nottingham.

It is being built in the ward of county councillor Sue Homer, who is also a member of the town’s Legion.

She approached the trust and it has agreed for her to join meetings regarding the school as a county council representative. It was then decided to launch a petition and campaigners are hoping to get at least 10,000 signatures by the end of August.

Petition forms are available around Rushden, including the library, Pemberton Centre and some shops in High Street.

Anyone wanting to help with the petition can call Jake Baker on 07525 441267 or email

History of a hero

Vann, born in Rushden in 1887, played for Northampton Town FC before ordaining as a priest in 1912.

He volunteered as a British Army chaplain but then enlisted in the infantry.

He got the Military Cross twice and received the VC for his actions on September 29, 1918, but was killed days later in France aged 31.