Recalling Old Town times

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I saw the photograph of the Old Town reunion (Mail, September 26) of the people who lived there.

I was born and bred there, and lived in Pilot Street.

It was a lovely place with some lovely and lively characters.

My childhood was very happy.

We had lovely neighbours and lots of friends.

The photo shows most of the residents.

On the front row were the Hewitt family whose mam, Sally, was crowned queen of Old Town.

Next were the Liddles, Gallaghers and my aunt, Hannah, who travelled from Grimethorpe to attend the reunion.

Sheila Cann, Mrs Boyd, Lettie Gallagher, Bernadette Liddle, the Robinsons, Doreen Sotheran, Kathy Sotheran, Shirley Talbot, the Swifts, Kennedys and Taits.

There were lots more.

I can’t reel them all off or I would be here all week.

They were the salt of the earth.

Sadly most of them have passed away, but they will never be forgotten.

The get-together was the brainwave of my sister, Kathleen Sotheran (nee Donley), when Old Town was demolished, and everyone scattered all over.

If they met in town they would chat about the old times and how they all missed everyone.

So she decided to have a reunion.

She got tickets – I think she sold 200, hired the Catholic Club and bought some prizes.

My daughter, Catherine, made corned beef slices and mushy peas, and delivered and served them at half-time, they were piping hot and delicious.

There was dancing, and some people got on the stage and gave a song.

The Catholic priest, Father Bell, came and enjoyed himself.

The night itself was videoed.

Later on, I had a night at my house for all those who lived nearby to come and watch it.

There was one lady, Gladdy Liddle, who sat right in the front.

When she saw herself on the screen she said: “Phone our Mike (her grandson) and tell him I’m on the telly.

“Don’t forget to tell him which channel I’m on.”

My son, Mark, made a banner with The Old Town Gang painted on it.

At the end of the night we all marched proudly behind, singing our anthem:

“Four and 20 hours and we’re all in the gang,

“We hoist the flag as high as we can,

“For nobody can beat the Old Town gang.”

Happy memories of happy times and some really good people.

If I have left anyone out it’s not intentional.

The photo wasn’t very clear.

So write in with your stories.

I would love to hear other people’s verdicts of those days.

Veronica Burgon (nee Donley),

Hartlepool.