Life in Hartlepool in 1997 - 10 stories to remind you of the year when an Angel came to town

It’s not often that a company wins a contract to build an angel.

Friday, 10th June 2022, 12:26 pm
Updated Friday, 10th June 2022, 12:26 pm

But Hartlepool Steel Fabrications was in the running to build the Angel of the North 25 years ago.

And if that’s not enough of a reminder of the town in 1997, we have 9 more stories to refresh your memory.

Chris Cordner reports.

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The year when an angel took shape in Hartlepool.

l An Angel with a wingspan to rival a Jumbo jet was being planned for a hill beside the A1 at Gateshead.

Hartlepool Steel Fabrications, at Graythorp, was one of four North-East companies in the running for the contract.

More used to heavy engineering work for the offshore and petro-chemical industries, Hartlepool Steel Fabrications said it saw no problem with the challenge of building the huge Angel.

l London’s Burning star Steven Houghton opened Hartlepool’s latest attraction, the Lighthouse.

The Angel of the North under construction in Hartlepool.

The newest member of Blue Watch - and now a chart-topping pop star - was a big hit with fans who turned up for the bar’s first night.

Steven, who plays heart-throb firefighter Gregg Blake in the television programme, is currently riding high at No 4 in the charts with a cover of the classic Wind Beneath My Wings.’

l A Hartlepool chip shop owner came up with the perfect way for sweethearts to express their feelings - through fish cakes.

Kevin Turton, the owner of Mariners in Middleton Grange, said: “I’m a real romantic at heart and we thought these would be much better than a box of chocolates or red roses.”

The Lighthouse.

Around 40 of the heart-shape fish cakes, which were deep fried in batter, went on sale.

l Delighted organisers at a Hartlepool charity were praising hardy runners after they received a cash boost. Runners handed over the £2,264 they raised for the Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group when 18 of them took part in the 1996 Great North Run.

l Hartlepool woman Kerry Levoir, 20, stormed to the top in mountain bike racing when she won all of her races in the first five months of competing in the sport. She was crowned champion of the Mountain Bike Northern Classic.

l Work on a new £50,000 cycle path was nearing completion, taking cyclists from Hartlepool Marina to Seaton Carew on a route along the new promenade.

Kevin Turton with the heart-shaped fish patties.

l Fisherman Tom Williams joined the crew of his first Hartlepool fishing boat when he was 13 and was till going strong in the industry in 1997 - at the age of 84 and working as a safety officer.

l Mum Vicky Emmerson made an express delivery when she gave birth to her son on the front seat of a van just 45 minutes after going into labour. Son Stephen decided to make his entrance just yards from Hartlepool General Hospital.

l A sellout two-night pantomime in a Hartlepool village was extended to a third day because it was such a hit. Cinderella went down a storm when it was staged by the 17-strong local cast.

l Hartlepool doctor David Bruce ran the Great North Run to buy vital equipment for his unit. And thanks to the sponsored miles that Dr Bruce pounded in the Great North Run, stroke victims at Hartlepool can now look forward to a speedier recovery plus the prospect of getting back on their feet much faster.

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