Recalling once-popular South Shields youth club

The league-winning Perth Green Youth Club netball team from 40 years ago.
The league-winning Perth Green Youth Club netball team from 40 years ago.

I’m sure you’ll recognise a lot of familiar faces on the two old photos sent in by reader Ruth Anderson.

Mrs Anderson tells me: “I used to be a youth leader at Perth Green youth club from 1976-2000 and thought your readers would find these photos interesting.

“We used to have different age groups in the club: Mini/age 5-7, which took place from 5-7pm, three times a week; Juniors/age 8-13, from 6.30-9pm, twice a week and Seniors/age 14-plus, from 7-9.30pm, three times a week. The cost per session was 5p and 10p.

“It’s such a pity that most of the youth clubs have been closed, as I think there is still a need for them. I would love this one to re-open, as the youth club building is still there and stands empty.”

Meanwhile, a photo of four youngsters saying prayers at a Good Friday service in West Park, South Shields, in 1968, prompted Elizabeth Price to say that three of them are her daughters.

“They are not twins (as I suspected) there is 14 months difference in age, between the two older girls, Elizabeth and Gloria. The knitted woollen hats they are wearing were made by me. They were all the fashion at that time.

“The little one, with hands together in prayer, is Gillian. Gloria and myself still march regularly to the West Park on Good Friday with our girls brigade, attached to West Harton Church.”

Another reader, ex-RAF man Mr JC Zeelie, emailed regarding the article regarding the Chipchase life raft.

He wrote: “Your piece brought back many memories to me (and probably many others too). I worked during World War Two at W H Hails & Son, boat builder in Wapping Street, South Shields, as an apprentice boat builder. We built Chipchase life rafts on behalf of Tyne Dock Engineering.

“There were two types, the one you have written about (if you would like to see a model of one, the Volunteer Life Brigade has one on their premises, so I’m told) and a smaller one about 10ft x 4ft.

The large life raft 13ft x 6ft was the most we built

“The small mast was also made by us. We built these until just before the end of the war. I left W H Hail & Son in 1946 to join the RAF for 22 years’ service. The boss’ son was Hirst Hail (the Gazette waterfront reporter), the journeymen were John Swinburne, John Swinbanks, apprentices were Bob Hall, Big Arthur, Tommy Elstob and myself.”