Trip down memory lane for ex-Westoe Rugby Club player

Former Westoe Rugby Club player Harold Yeoman 'From left committee members Ken Younger, Jimi Bell, Graham Allen, Chris Marlo, Dick Elliot and John Tighe.
Former Westoe Rugby Club player Harold Yeoman 'From left committee members Ken Younger, Jimi Bell, Graham Allen, Chris Marlo, Dick Elliot and John Tighe.

A former rugby player took a trip back in time when he was taken to visit his old playing ground.

Harold Yeoman was a young boy growing up in South Shields, when he was first taken to the Westoe Rugby Club ground, where his father, James, and older brother, Arthur, played.

Former Westoe Rugby Club player Harold Yeoman

Former Westoe Rugby Club player Harold Yeoman

More than 50 years on since last visiting the venue, in Dean Road, South Shields, Mr Yeoman, now 96, took a trip down memory lane with a visit to the place which inspired his love of the game.

Mr Yeoman’s nephoew Teddy Bell, who was the son of England player Fred, also played at the ground.

It was only a matter of time before a young Harold was bitten by the rugby bug and - when war broke out - it also gave him the chance to became part of the RAF team.

Whenever he was home, the Flight Lieutenant - who carried out a series of bombing raids during the war years - would head down to his home ground to play whenever he could - taking on the position of right wing threequarter.

It has brought back some memories of me playing.

Harold Yeoman

Because of ill health, it had been 50 years since he last visted the ground.

The widower, a former worker at the weights and meausurers department, who lives in Roseway House in Jarrow, said: “Whenever there was a game, I would play if I could.

“It’s amazing being back here. I recognise bits of the whole area. But I did not know about all the facilities that now exisit here.

“The visit has been very good. It has meant more to me than than I could ever have imagined.”

He added: “It has brought back memories of me playing. I had to stop myself from rushing out onto the field.

“Because of ill health I haven’t been able to come down and watch a game - but I’d like to.”

Preparations are now being made to enable Mr Yeoman, who has no surviving relatives, to visit the ground, to watch a match and meet the current team captain.

Pauline Fraser, lifetime support at Roseway House - where Mr Yeoman has been living since March said: “Within my role, I sit down with every new resident and speak to them about there likes and dislikes.

“When I sat down with Harold he told me about his time with Westoe Rugby Club.

“I am friends with the partner of Jimmy Bell who has links with the club, and he came down and spoke to Harold.

“It was then we decided to see if we could arrange a visit. We’re now trying to arrange a time for Harold to come down and watch one of the games.”