Hebburn care home residents enjoy memory lane on museum visit

Second World War Merchant Navy veteran Jimmy Mahoney tries out an old seaside attraction  on a visit to South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.
Second World War Merchant Navy veteran Jimmy Mahoney tries out an old seaside attraction on a visit to South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

A Second World War Merchant Navy veteran took a walk down memory lane when visiting South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Jimmy Mahoney, 95, was visiting the museum with fellow residents from Willowdene care home, in Hebburn.

After entering an exhibit of a kitchen and sleeping quarters for crewmen during the war, Jimmy recalled his wartime memories from his time serving in the Merchant Navy.

He left school at 14 and joined as a cabin boy, prior to the start of the Second World War, and eventually worked his up to deck hand.

When asked by a member of the home staff if the sleeping quarters were comfortable, Jimmy said: “It didn’t matter. You were so tired you just wanted to go to sleep.”

More than a dozen residents, staff and family members from Willowdene also enjoyed the museum, which celebrates the heritage of South Tyneside.

Alongside the war era exhibits, the residents also saw the latest attraction, works from Scottish painter Dame Ethel Walker, featuring a portrait of Dame Flora Robson, the famous South Shields stage and screen actor.

Christine Chandler, activities co-ordinator at Willowdene, on Victoria Road West, said: “One of our residents, Harry West, doesn’t say a lot these days but the smiles of recognition and joy were wonderful to see. When we got back the residents were so happy and kept saying how much they enjoyed the visit.”

After visit, the care home group stopped off at Frydays Fish Bar and Grill, on Smithy Street, South Shields.

Christine added: “The staff were so lovely and welcoming. They made it a brilliant end to a lovely day out.”