Guarding the sea and shoreline in South Tyneside

Our recent pictorial salute to South Shields Volunteer Lifeguard Club brought an interesting response from a number of our heroic life-savers.

Tuesday, 6th June 2017, 8:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th June 2017, 8:51 am
Life-savers at the start of a national lifeguard championship in South Shields in August 1970.

Gillian Wilkinson took to Facebook to post: “I’m proud to be a part of such a fantastic club, and to be the third generation of our family to run it, along with my mam and sister.

“My gran, Belle Bennett, was one of the five founders, in 1961, and stayed at the helm until she passed away in 1998.

“The club still aims to turn all by-standers into life-savers, and covers all ages and abilities, from five years of age.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Over the years, I’ve pretty much covered all emergencies you can face.

“One thing is for sure, my team-mates will always be there for me, as I will for them, and I couldn’t wish for a better group of friends.

“If anyone would like to get involved, please contact us on our Facebook page. And thanks to the Gazette for the feature on our club, no doubt some of our older and past members would love to share their stories of the years gone by.”

Club member Brett Liam McIntyre posted: “I recall a dingy drifting out to sea, and I along with Pamela, took the boat out to recover them.

“In addition, we responded to a couple of epileptic fits at the fair, a lady who seriously shredded all her leg skin, and it was hanging off, while being in shock. Choking was another one that happened – not even while working on the beach.”

Despite having “very happy years” with the club, Paul Peacock recalls the day, in June 2001, when lifeguards and canoeists were involved in a dramatic sea rescue – saving five children from the sea at South Shields.

Paul says: “Almost lost a few lifeguards on this one. Rough seas that day.”

Meanwhile, when we posted a picture of youngsters at Ellison Church of England School in 1971, to accompany the poser as to whether or not children have too many holidays, you were quick to respond to the question.

Gemma Brown posted: “The school holidays are a joke. I do think children spend too long at school, sitting behind a desk, getting homework.

“I think this country’s education system seriously needs to change. I’ve recently been denied holiday for my daughter and it’s made me so mad!

“If you look at how many holidays the school actually have, and how expensive it is to do anything in the holidays (not just going on holiday) I think they have a nerve.

“I work 35-plus hours every week, all year round so time spent as a family doesn’t happen often.

“We should sack whoever is responsible for our children’s future, and let someone who really understands children and how they learn best, and someone who truly has the child’s best interest at heart, to run it – someone who believes in our children, and that our children aren’t just a number.”

Maxine Reed went online to say: “School holidays have not changed, it’s always been set the same, the same way now as they were when I was at school. I personally love the school holidays, love spending time with my two children.

“I work in a hotel and its always full during holidays.”

Helen Banks comments: “I feel for the kids of today because there is nothing for them to do unless it costs money, and people haven’t got it.

“There are no youth clubs or nothing, and that’s how they get bored.”

Milly AJ Nosliw said: “If I could take work holidays at the same time it would be great! Haven’t got enough, so forced to use child care which makes me sad.”

Rebecca Elizabeth Tooley posted: “Far too many! I love spending time with my daughter, but keeping her entertained on all of these holidays is a bit of a nightmare, cash is low and everything is so expensive through the holidays.”

Kenny Martin stated: “They complain if the children are taken out of school so parents can get cheaper holidays, also parents cannot get holidays when it’s school holidays.”

Ruth Potts said: “I wish parents would take responsibility for their children, and not let them make my life a misery, do you know what your children are up to? I’m an old woman and dread the holidays.”