Man who opened South Shields’ first night club awarded theatre honour

South Shields Mayor coun Ken Stephenson with Sandford Goudie.
South Shields Mayor coun Ken Stephenson with Sandford Goudie.

The man who opened South Shields’ first night club is taking centre stage after being honoured with a prestigious theatre award.

Sandford Goudie, who opened La Strada nightclub in the 1960s, has been recognised as an Honorary Fellow by The Customs House.

His venture was responsible for attracting some of the biggest stars of the 1960s to the region.

The Honorary Fellows Award is bestowed on people who are from or have been associated with South Tyneside, who have gone on to make a significant contribution to the development of arts and entertainment locally, nationally and internationally.

Comedians Sarah Millican, Jason Cook and Chris Ramsay have all been presented with the honour.

Mr Goudie, from South Shields, accepted the offer of a Corporate Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his support for the cultural and economic vibrancy of the borough of South Shields.

As his business interests developed, he opened several manufacturing companies, most notably Be Modern and Academy Craft.

Since his semi-retirement, Mr Gouldie has supported several good causes including Mission to Seafarers and helped fund the statue outside The Customs House - a memorial to those merchant seamen who lost their lives during the Second World War.

He has also funded The Customs House Gallery, and was a keen member of the South Shields Amateur Operatic Society for many years.

A fervent supporter of developing the talents of young people, Mr Gouldie was responsible for founding South Shields Juniors in order to give a platform to young people hoping to have a professional career in the performing arts.

He said: “I’m delighted to accept this great honour from The Customs House, which is at the heart of the community of South Shields.

“My business interests have allowed me to travel all over the world, but I really would not wish to put down roots anywhere other than my hometown.

“I’ve built up many friendships over the years, and have so many happy memories entwined with the area I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else – we are in a very nice part of the world.”

Mr Goudie accepted his award on the same evening that South Shields born actor George Irving was also welcomed into The Academy.

Probably best known for his portrayal of Anton Meyer in Holby City, George has made regular appearances on TV since the 1970s.

Since then he has appeared in numerous classic series including The Sweeney, The Professionals, Dempsey and Makepeace and Bergerac.

George also appeared in Tyne at the Live Theatre in Newcastle as part of the Festival of the North East.

Ray Spencer MBE, executive director of The Customs House, said: “I am very pleased that we are able to recognise the talents of two more people who were born in South Tyneside, both of whom I have admired for such a long time.

“It was fantastic to be able to invite Sandford and George to join our already illustrious role call of Honorary Fellows.

“They are indeed extremely worthy additions to the fold, and I’m very happy they agreed to come on board.”

After the award presentation Irving and Goudie gave an insight into their lives and experiences to date.

The induction evenings are becoming a popular event at The Customs House and the public are able to purchase tickets to attend.