From the book, ‘A Lifetime’s Journey - Old Man of the Tyne’:
“Is there anything you’d like to ask me?” Said Geordie, looking around at the audience as Davy poured him a soft drink.
“Aye!” Davy’s son, Tom, spoke up from the front row. “Apart from Hebburn Hall and its old peel tower: now part of St. John’s Church, and the Black Staithes: known colloquially as ‘steeths’, are there any other manmade landmarks in the immediate town area, still extant from the days of your childhood?”
“Alas, no. Trees were the great landmarks back then - of greater significance than they are today. The Hebburn Halfway Tree, that ancient focal point and meeting place, has gone - as are many other trees I climbed as a boy. I have noticed the absence of a greater feature - one which is a ‘man-made loss’ - the skylark and the peewit.”
The older folk looked on thoughtfully, and nodded. “As an eight-year-old I often visited my maternal cousins at Hebburn Hall, and almost the whole area of Hebburn was our playground. Although many things have changed since that time, there is one thing that has always remained steadfast - which no amount of physical change could ever alter - that is the wonderful ambience of the town: a feeling that can be sensed most strongly around the present Marina, and will be there for all generations.”
Tom spoke again. “Thank you, Geordie, that’s a wonderful sentiment.
Your mention of the Marina prods me to further ask how you know so much about our recent local history in the short time you’ve been here.”
“Tom, your father is a very clever man, and has kindly filled in many of the gaps in my local history knowledge. And, out of this proud and happy town has sprung a quartet of remarkable local websites: http://hebburn.org/,
http://www.oldtyneside.co.uk/, www.hebburnandmidtyne.co.uk/ and the forum: http://members3.boardhost.com/hebburn/, united as one by mutual consent. The camaraderie between the regulars shines through, and my heart is gladdened to view the interesting messages and pictures they contribute.”
“Have you ever posted a message,” said Tom; “and do you know any of the regulars?”
“I have posted incognito; and being a daily viewer, I know all the regulars by heart; the recent posters have the following diverse and delightful array of names:
Alan, Alan, Alex, Alison, Alistair, Allan, Anne, Audrey, Barrie, Barry, Bill, Billy, BJC, Bob, Bob, Brian, Bruce, Campbell, Carol, Colin, David, Davy, Dexy, DJ, Don, Eddy, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Fhead, Flora, Fredb, Ged, Gerry, Gordon, Ian, Irene, Jackie, James, Jean, Jean, Jim, Jimmy, John, John, John, John, Joseph, Joyce, Ken, Lance, Laurence, Lawrence, Les, Lesley, Lilian, Linda, Liz, Liz, Lloyd, Llyn, Lorna, Mac, Mac, Malcolm, Margaret, Marie, Marion, Michael, N44, Norman, Norman, Patrick, Peter, Peter, Philip, Ray, Rhoda, Ricky, Rob, Roy, Russ, Sheila, Shirley, Stan, Steve, Stewart, Sylvia, Thomas, Tom, Tom, Tony, Trish and Vera..