Can you help with search for South Tyneside woman?

After years of searching for her long lost mother, a South Tyneside woman is appealing to readers for help in a bid to track her down.

Lilian can be seen in the background, sitting on the wall.
Lilian can be seen in the background, sitting on the wall.

The appeal comes from Sarah Jones, whose mam, Lilian Ann Thompson, was born in 1944, in Ellison Street, Hebburn.

Lilian’s mother was Sarah Elizabeth Thompson, who lived in the town’s Windermere Crescent.

In 1965-66, Lilian lived at 66 Cuthbert Street in Hebburn. In 1971, official records showed that she was living in South Shields, where she had two children.

After that, however, the trail goes cold.

Now 54-year-old Sarah, who lost touch with her mam, is desperate to find out what happened to her.

With the help of her daughter, Joanne Ewing, they have been trying to find out where Lilian may be, but so far they’ve drawn a blank.

Their research has thrown up some clues, but not many.

“We know that my grandmother was a tailoress in a clothing factory,” said Joanne, “but we don’t know which one.”

As part of their research, the mother and daughter posted an appeal on the message board of Norman Dunn’s website,

And Norman was able to help by coming up with a photo of Lilian as a 10-year-old.

“I am a Hebburn man and I remembered Lilian and even the address in Windermere Crescent where she lived,” said Norman.

“I found a photo from my website with Lilian on it. The photo was of my old mate and his siblings, taken outside their house in 1954 – and luckily in the background, sitting on the wall, was Lilian, aged 10.

“As you can imagine, Sarah and her daughter were overjoyed to have the photo of Lilian.”

Despite enlisting the help of Norman and his friend Barry Cram, and continuing with their own research, Sarah and Joanne have failed to find any more clues as to Lilian’s current whereabouts.

“My mam really wants to get to know her birth mother,” added Joanne.

“It would mean an awful lot to her if we could find out what happened to her.”

Joanne says the search for Lilian has intensified in recent times and now they are “seriously” trying to come up with answers, but without success.

“I have been trying really hard,” revealed her granddaughter, “but I feel as if I am going up against a brick wall time and again.

“I keep going over the same stuff, and not getting any further forward, and it’s hard. But if we can find out what happened to Lilian, my mother would be overjoyed.”

So if you can help, please get in touch with me and I will pass on any details to Joanne.

Meanwhile reader Terry Grewcock has been in touch after we featured Frankie’s coffee bar/cafe in the page and online recently.

He wrote: “As a teenager in the middle 50s after Sunday evening service at St Michael’s Church, we would walk down Mowbray Road to Frankie’s Cafe.

“There we would sit in a group at the back, with a Coke and ‘blowing’ smoke rings. That was considered the epitome of ‘coolness’ in those days.

“Joe Frankie, the owner, would occasionally walk over and speak to us when we got a bit ‘rowdy’.

“Joe was a big man, squashed inside his small ‘office’ dealing with the steady stream of cash from his equally big sons, serving fish ‘n’ chips, and pots of tea. Happy days!”

Another reader responded to a 1964 photo, posted on Facebook, showing a family enjoying a picnic in the King George playing fields, Hebburn,in the shadow of the ships and cranes of Swan Hunters shipyard.

Steve Tindale said: “The ship in the background is an Ellerman Lines passenger cargo liner, either City of Port Elisabeth, City of Exeter, City of York or City of Durban.”

Please drop me a line with any memories you may have.