The South Shields autograph hunter who was mistaken for a pop star


Just a blink of an eye ago, I asked about the autographs readers had collected over the years – from celebrities to sportsmen and women and, of course, musicians.

As usual, you were quick to respond, listing, on Facebook, the signatures obtained, and, no doubt treasured.

Thanks to all, especially regular contributor John Bage, who emailed regarding a funny story that happened to him and his wife, whilst they were seeking the autographs of a certain chart-topping, drain-pipe-wearing pop group.

I’ll let John explain.

“Hi Peter, here is a funny story for you about autographs.

“In the mid 1970s we were at the Tavern nightclub at Crossgate, in South Shields.

“Showaddywaddy was a top group at that time, with lots of big hit records to their credit, and they were on as the star act that night.

“At the interval, the band all came out to the bar area to give out photos and autographed them for the waiting fans.

“My wife decided to ask for a picture and the singer said he had run out and would go get some more pictures.

“While my wife was standing waiting next to the other group members, a young woman was getting the autographs of the other members of the group, and as she turned round, she asked my wife for her autograph as well, which she happily signed in the book.

“So somewhere out there, there may still be an autograph book with all the band members of Showaddywaddy in it – alongside that of Irene Bage.”

Meanwhile, Ken Smith has been in touch – in the hope of drumming up support for the South Tyneside Pipe Band.

As you will recall, we have recently featured some photos of this prestigious band from down the years.

Sadly, band numbers have dwindled, and now Ken is appealing for new blood.

“I read with interest, your articles on July 12 and 17 concerning South Tyneside Pipe Band,” writes Ken.

“I am a member of South Tyneside Pipes and Drums, and we are still in demand to play at various functions, although, at times, we have to refuse as our numbers are so low we sometimes cannot get a band together.

“This time last year, we performed at the Proms, we also played for the 22-hour walk at Monkton Stadium for Cancer Connections last year, and also on Saturday two weeks gone.

“I am writing to you because we need as much publicity as possible as we need to recruit new members.

“At times during my membership of the band we have had over 20 pipers, now we are down to six pipers and four drummers.

“We meet most Tuesdays at St Stephen’s Church, Mile End Road, South Shields, and any pipers are welcome to join us.

“If we can get enough people interested in learning to play the bagpipes we may be able to start tuition.

“Any publicity would be welcome.” So if you fancy joining the band, why not go along to the church?

Finally, David Morrow got in touch when we popped a picture on Facebook, showing youngsters from King George Comprehensive School, in South Shields, with their first aid certificates in 1990.

When asked about your experiences of first aid training, David wrote: “I did mine at the Marine School in 1997, and the old doctor who was supposed to be examining me was snoring!”