Class acts from South Shields’ past

Harton Comp, under 12 team pictured in  May 1979.  Back, left to right:  McAlister, Gaff, Chastney, Elsdon, Smith, Anderson, Mellish, Burdon, Front: Mordain, Hogg, Welsh, Cook, Simpson. Rear centre, teacher coach, Mr Bill Graham.
Harton Comp, under 12 team pictured in May 1979. Back, left to right: McAlister, Gaff, Chastney, Elsdon, Smith, Anderson, Mellish, Burdon, Front: Mordain, Hogg, Welsh, Cook, Simpson. Rear centre, teacher coach, Mr Bill Graham.

We all remember our school days – whether for the good times or the bad.

And our recent selection of photos from Harton Comprehensive School jogged quite a few memories for readers.

Jared Stevenson got in touch to say: “Loved your pictures of Harton Comp.

“There’s a few faces I recognise. Although I wasn’t a pupil there, I went to Redwell (Reda) Comp, they were friends from Cheviot Junior School.

“The lads with the hockey sticks are, at the back, Neil Giles, and at the front is Sukdhav Singh.

“Then there’s the lads with the bikes, the two at the very right of the front and back row, I’m sure were twins, but can’t think of their names.

“On the back row, far left, is Paul Brownson. Then Neil Giles is there again in the school play, back row, on the right.

“The footie lads were a couple of years older than me, front row in the middle (looks like the captain) is Darren Welsh.

“I was good friends with his younger brother David, again a good footballer.

“In the same picture. on the far left, with the goalkeeper gloves is John Mcalister, who I occasionally still see around today when out for a pint!

“Would love to see some pictures of Redwell Comp. around the same era (we’ll se what we can do!). Happy days.”

The Harton picture selection encouraged other readers to take to Facebook to comment.

Referring to a photo of pupils dressed in medieval garb for a play, entitled Time to Time, Catherine Burgin-Plews posted: “From Time to Time was three plays that were linked by a narrator (Mr Carr).

“One was Thesues and the Minotaur, one a mystery and the one, in the picture, which was set in Scotland. They were written by Mr Lynch, our drama teacher.”

Nicola Stockmann gives a shout out for Caroline Wells, asking “is that you far left in the play, behind John Riddle?”

Malcolm Anderson got in touch to say he attended Harton Comp: “I did, left in 1994.”

Meanwhile, John Stansfield emailed me to ask if I could make mention of an old South Tyneside boxer, in the hope that readers can shed some light on him and his career.

Born in April, 1916, to Matilda, James “Chippy” Stansfield, went on to box in dozens of bouts, between 1932 and 1941.

And during that time he recorded a great many victories against a host of opponents, most of whom came from the North East.

They included Cyclone Hamilton, from Sunderland; Dixie Kid (Aussie), from Castleford; Seaman Dobson, from Knaresborough and Tiger Smith (Blaydon) from North Shields.

“He was born in Jarrow,” explained John.

“I have a list of the bouts he fought, and a small photograph of him, but I’d like to know more about him.

“I remember seeing a photo of him on the wall of my gran’s house.”

James must have been quite a talented boxer having fought and out-pointed so many opponents.

In just nine years, he fought 104 times and lost less than a dozen of those bouts, securing victories over such local rivals as Billy Charlton, Billy Smart and Billy Baker.

What can you tell me about James and his time in and out of the boxing ring?

Also, if you have any other memorable boxing tales, please get in touch.