A COUPLE’S dream of moving to South Shields from the ‘Garden of England’ is a step closer to reality today.
Judith White and her husband Jim, both 67, had pinned their hopes on moving to Shields from their home in Chatham, Kent.
The pair, who have been married for 46 years, are regular visitors to the seaside town where Mrs White’s late father Jimmy Gordon was born and grew up before he joined the Navy and settled in the South.
The couple, who both require walking frames to get about, had applied to South Tyneside Council’s Homefinder scheme in the hope a bungalow could be found.
But they were told in a letter late last year that, due to lack of local connections, they are not eligible for the Good Tenants Scheme.
Despite being “gutted” at the decision they accepted that local people “had to come first”.
Now South Tyneside Homes has invited them to apply again for a one or two bedroom flat or bungalow via the council service.
And the couple, who visit South Shields at least twice a year and stay at the Britannia Guest House on the Lawe Top, are delighted at getting a “second chance”.
They say they are “absolutely thrilled” at the offer and hope to make the switch after their daughter Vanessa’s wedding in August. Mrs White, who was brought to South Shields as a youngster to see relatives, said: “I don’t know how often two-bedroom bungalows become available but we will be bidding. I know it’s just the first rung of the ladder but we are absolutely delighted.
“We love South Shields and we feel so at home here and adore the seafront and Minchellas. It’s all systems go this year.
“We have two weeks holiday booked in Shields in June and were planning to be back to watch the Great North Run. Who knows, we might have a home there by then.
“The truth is that if we won the lottery we’d buy a house in South Shields in a flash. Until then we’ll be bidding.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Homes said: “Mr and Mrs White have now been accepted on to the housing register. We would encourage them to engage with the Homefinder process which allows them to place up to three bids per week for available properties that they would like to be considered for.
“We believe that South Tyneside is a fantastic place to live, and we’re always pleased when people from outside the borough recognise this too.”