Dome sweet Dome for pair

A couple who met and fell in love at the Spanish City Dome are sharing their story as part of their 50th wedding anniversary.

Doreen and Ray Garside were 17 and 23 respectively when they first danced together at the Empress Ballroom 53 years ago, marrying in 1965.

Now 70 and 76, Doreen and Ray are sharing their story as part of Romance in the Dome, a North Tyneside Council-funded project being co-ordinated by North Tyneside VODA.

Ray said: “The regeneration of the Dome brings back for us memories of when it played an important part in the social life of Whitley Bay.

“Dances were held each week in the Empress Ballroom to the music of the Harry Atkinson band and people often met their long term partners there.

“Indeed, we met there at the New Year’s Eve dance in 1961 and in March we celebrate our Golden Wedding.”

Laura Watson, project co-ordinator at VODA, said “Doreen and Ray’s story is just lovely.

“The Dome played a pivotal role in their lives and love story and as the building goes under refurbishment, it’s important that these memories, and any pictures and footage that exist, are preserved for future generations to enjoy.

“If you’ve got a similar story or you want to share your memories of dancing in the ballroom, we’d love to hear from you.”

VODA are currently collecting memories, photographs and artefacts around the Dome’s vivid history and are looking for people to get in touch that formed relationships there or have special memories of friendships made at the venue.

VODA are particularly keen to hear from anyone who may have old cinefilm footage of dances at the Dome as a specially-made documentary will also be produced as part of the project.

Anyone who would like to share their story or learn more about the project should contact Laura Watson at VODA on (0191) 643 2628 or email