South Shields residents in red, white and blue raise a glass to Britain's exit from the EU at Mechanics Arms Brexit day party
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Leavers and remainers put their differences aside at the Mechanics Arms on East Street on Friday, January 31, the day that marks the country’s exit from the European Union.
Punters, who were wearing their Union Jacks with pride, were preparing to pop the champagne at 11pm, when Britain will be officially out of the EU - three and a half years since the public voted to leave.
Carol Griffiths, 63, from South Shields, who was among the 52% in 2016, said: “Delighted is an understatement. I’ve waited 42 years for this and it hasn’t come a day too soon.”
Bob Sweet, 75, of Horsley Hill was also over the moon and even wished Prime Minister Boris Johnson all the best.
“It’s a decision that’s going to affect my children and their children,” he said.
“I want to leave something for my children like my father left for me.”
Bob added: “At the end of the day it’s not really about Brexit, it’s about British democracy. The people have spoken.”
With live entertainment playing old favourites, karaoke and drinks offers, the atmosphere was jubilant, but many were just relieved to finally have some certainty over the country’s future.
Edward Rayne, 84, from Sunderland, a former miner and lifelong Labour voter turned to the Tories in the December election to get Brexit done.
Edward, who had stumbled on the Mechanics Arms party by accident, said: “I’ve voted Labour all my life but at the last election I voted conservative just to get my answer.
“It won’t do me much good because it’ll take another year to sort it out, but for the younger generation it’s the best thing for the country.”
And it wasn’t just leavers who were making the occasion. West Boldon resident, Sandra Magneron, of Don View, voted to remain in 2016 but has now urged people to unite to help the country move forward.
“I voted for younger people mainly, because they’ve got to face all the things that come,” said the 65-year-old.
“I thought If you can’t beat them join them, you’ve got to move on and it is democracy."
She added: “We can’t just carry on the way the country is, we’ve got to all get together and support each other.”
While business owner Carol Gibson, of Jarrow, added: “No matter what the decision is, it’s just a celebration of being British and being proud.”
Pleased with the turn out, she commented: “I expect things will get a lot busier later on. Today is about celebrating finally getting out. It’s been three and half years now and we now know which way we’re going. There’s definitely a good atmosphere, I just hope everyone enjoyed themselves and the country goes up and up.”