Drop-in event seeking memorabilia from war

The expansion of the highly successful community project examining the effects of the Great War and loss of life into other areas of the modern day borough created in 1974 will be focused on Whitley Bay next Thursday (June 18).

An informal drop-in event is being held in the Customer First Centre and library in York Road.

Project volunteers will be on hand to discuss the stories of the many men of Whitley Bay who are known to have died in the conflict.

They hope that anyone interested to be involved in the project will be able to call in between 3pm and 7pm on the day when there will be an opportunity to see and learn about how the Tynemouth project was organised and see the many aspects of the work of volunteers.

The project also hopes that anyone with memorabilia or items of interest connected to any relative lost in the war (who lived in Whitley Bay or elsewhere in the area of North Tyneside in the war years 1914-19) will be willing to bring along and allow the project to examine and copy relevant materials to aid the building of the database, which will preserve a permanent record of the contribution of a lost generation for the future.

Meanwhile, only weeks after learning of the sudden illness and tragic early death of Jackie Fielding, whose acclaimed and award-winning direction of the project’s play, Death at Dawn, written by Peter Mortimer and which was premiered in September last year at Linskill Community Centre in North Shields by the project and Cloud Nine Theatre Company, the borough’s only professional theatre group, the group was thrilled to hear that the finalists for The Journal Culture Awards for 2014 include nominations for Death at Dawn in three categories for individuals and the production itself.

Author Peter Mortimer, has been nominated as ‘Writer of the Year’ for the script and Heather Carroll, who played a series of the female lead roles in the acclaimed staging at Linskill Community Centre, is in line for the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ award. And lastly, the stage play is nominated as ‘Performance of the Year’.

However, the project’s satisfaction that the play, a cast member and overall performance are being nominated for the awards is tinged with deep sadness because it was through the brilliance of Jackie Fielding, who turned the script into a gripping stage performance, that the story of North Shields lad William Hunter’s life and execution became such a vivid and challenging observation on the controversial topic of military executions in the Great War.

There is no talk this month at the Low Lights Tavern, but next month will see the return of accomplished local history speaker Anthea Lang, who will give an insight into life on the Home Front on Tyneside during the First World War. This takes place at 7.30pm on Tuesday, July 28.

The project’s Information Centre in Front Street, Tynemouth (adjacent to the library), is open at weekends through the spring and summer.

A number of small exhibitions of the project’s work and publications can be viewed and purchased from the centre.

Anyone with information about anyone who was killed or died as a result of the war is asked to contact the project.

The project workroom at Room B9, Linskill Community Centre, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, is open from 10am to 4pm each weekday for visitors and for anyone interested to learn more about the project or how to get involved.

The address for correspondence is c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1AR.