Scary times on the Derwent Hill night walks - and you loved it!

Michelle Ball.
Michelle Ball.

Only a select few of our trips down Memory Lane have prompted as much of a reader response as this one.

It seems you just can’t get enough of our fond journeys into your childhood past at Derwent Hill.

We danced in the common room to Chris Montez “Lets Dance” on a wind up record player

June Holmes

Hundreds of you went there and it looks like you all had a wonderful time.

Here are some more of your recollections and they have come from people who sent in emails as a result of our initial article a week ago.

Thank you to Michelle Ball, June Holmes, Jenna Lockwood, Valerie Hall and Stuart Watson for some wonderfully descriptive memories.

Michelle said: “I remember having a great time with my best friends Kelsey Hall and Chloe Steel.

“I enjoyed gorge walking and going in the mines. I thoroughly enjoyed the night walks which lasted for hours! Being exhausted and being scared at that age in the dark with only our torches.”

But despite the scary aspects, Michelle believes her trip to Derwent Hill helped her for the future.

“Derwent Hill gave us so much independence at that age and the freedom and skills to go on to meet new people and conquer our fears.”

June Holmes, nee Thompson, was another to get in touch.

She said: “This brought back happy memories of my first visit with Barnes Girls Secondary Modern in 1962.”

They were memories of showing off her dance moves with friends.

“We danced in the common room to Chris Montez “Lets Dance” on a wind up record player which was brought along by a girl whose parents had a shop and were comfortable, as we would say in those days.”

June described them as “happy times although the weather wasn’t too great and we all took a share of duties, washing up etc.”

Jenna Lockwood loved it as well and said her trip to Derwent Hill definitely made its mark.

She told us: “My memory of Derwent Hill was life changing!

“I went there when I was 14 with Hetton School and at the same time there was students from Venerable Bede school there. We made friends and it was there that I met my absolute best friend.

“We met there in July 2005 and eventually got together in the December.

“Eleven years and 2 children later we are still together, engaged and we recently re-visited the staff at Derwent Hill when we went to look at wedding venues in the Lake District.

“It was an amazing experience in itself but without the opportunity to have gone there I wouldn’t have the life I am truly blessed to have now.”

Valerie Hall added: “I was one of the first group to go to Derwent Hill when it reopened in 1963/64. Cannot remember exact date.”

Despite that, Valerie said she “had a wonderful week there. Went with Grange Park Girls School.”

Stuart Watson was pictured on one of the photographs included in our first feature, which showed him and others enjoying a sailing experience.

He said: “This is me at the back steering. Circa 1988 or 1989.”

But as Stuart pointed out, it was not the only time he got to experience the delights of Derwent Hill.

“Was lucky enough to go four times and, can honestly say it was the time of my life. Completely loved it.”

Stuart is keen for his own children to share in the Derwent Hill experience.

“Got two little ones now in a Sunderland school and I can’t wait for them to go. I tell them my stories often...”

Our focus on Derwent Hill is not over yet and we are planning one last feature about a man who played a huge part in making the Derwent Hill experience so accessible for so many Wearside children.

Watch out for that in the days to come.

In the meantime, if you have a Memory Lane topic you would like us to feature, just get in touch.

It could be anything from a momentous occasion in Sunderland’s history to an aspect of your own family tree.

Tell us more. Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk