South Shields author appeals for region to tell their love stories

Author Carol Cooke is appealing for people to tell her their love stories as part of a new arts project.
Author Carol Cooke is appealing for people to tell her their love stories as part of a new arts project.

A South Shields writer is on the look out for the region’s romantics to tell their best love stories as part of a new arts project.

Carol Cooke, the author of the Old Wives Tales series of books, is collecting stories of ‘romance, rings and relationships’ as part of the Cultural Spring’s winter and spring programme of workshops and activities.

Carole Cooke with pictures of her own wedding in 1975.

Carole Cooke with pictures of her own wedding in 1975.

The Cultural Spring is an award-winning, Arts Council England funded initiative working to increase participation in the arts in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

Carol is collecting the stories at Memories of Love sessions at Marsden Road Health and Wellbeing Centre, South Shields, every Tuesday from 10am to noon until February 27, and hopes to see people come along and share their fond tales.

She said: “I was writing a book for the Old Wives Tales series about diamonds, dancers and romances and I thought there was more to do – it would be a nice project to collect people’s stories of courtship, falling in love, engagement and marriage.

“I’ve already had some lovely stories from people attending the drop-in sessions and I hope to collect lots more over the next few weeks.

“I’m asking people to think about objects or songs that have brought people together and have had some great stories.

“Some have been about workplace romances, others about relationships across religious divides.

“One lady was telling me about how couples would meet in the 1950s at Marrs Corner in Shields, but some girls would go into a dress shop nearby and look through the windows until their date turned up.

“Another lady was telling me about how some boys would meet their dates inside the Majestic Ballroom instead of outside so they didn’t have to pay to get their dates in.

Carol added: “I’m going to wait to see how many stories and what type of tales I get and then I’ll decide what to do with them.

“We might put them on the Cultural Spring website with a voice-over and a song chosen by the storyteller.”

Memories of Love is just one of many workshops and activities in the Cultural Spring’s winter and spring programme.

The sessions have a small weekly voluntary donation and are held at venues throughout the Cultural Spring’s South Tyneside wards: Monkton, Horsley Hill, Beacon and Bents, Simonside and Bede.

For details visit: www.theculturalspring.org.uk