He swapped Hartlepool for the USA and survived the might of a hurricane

George Mudd.
George Mudd.

Life could hardly have been more dramatic for George Mudd in the 1970s.

The former Hartlepool man found himself, just like hundreds of other people, caught up in the devastation caused by a hurricane.

Our report on the story.

Our report on the story.

It happened in a picturesque Florida city that he called home. And it happened to a man who had made a difference in his new surroundings.

Chris Cordner reports.

The headline said it all. “Ex-Hartlepool man flees might of hurricane.”

It happened around this time of year 37 years ago to George Mudd, who had emigrated from Hartlepool in the 1960s.

All of the families in the town were evacuated to a local school where they spent the night until the worst of the storm was over

Hartlepool Mail reporter

Hurricane David had struck his home at Boca Raton in Florida.

Our report at the time said the hurricane had “forced an ex-Hartlepool man to flee his home and live in a school with hundreds of other evacuees”.

His mother was Mrs Kathleen Mudd, of Wansbeck Gardens in Hartlepool.

But since 1962, Boca Raton had been the place George called home. It is known as the city for all seasons and is home to more than 90,000 people.

When Kathleen heard that the hurricane had hit, she phoned her son. She was told that the aerial had been ripped off the roof of George’s house and his garden was flooded.

“All of the families in the town were evacuated to a local school where they spent the night until the worst of the storm was over.”

The drama was sufficient to make the pages of the Hartlepool Mail and our report told how Mr Mudd used to work at the baths in Seaton Carew.

The baths were popular with the public in their heyday and were also used for school swimming lessons.

But the baths closed in 1976.

Mr Mudd was already enjoying a new life in America by then, and his was definitely a success story.

He became deputy city manager of Margate, which was another city in Florida. It currently has a population of around 53,000 and has the motto “together we make it great.”

Mr Mudd was certainly keen to live up to the reputation.

Before he was promoted to the post of deputy city manager, Mr Mudd was the recreation director for a number of years. He was certainly held in high regard for his work.

At one point, he was voted the Million Dollar Employee of the Year in a citation which praised his “extensive devotion to the city”.

At the time of our 1970s story, Kathleen was getting ready for her own trip to see her son.

Our report said: “Mrs Mudd has visited her son in America on five occasions and will be flying out again in October for five and a half months, when she will be able to see the damage caused by the hurricane for herself.”

Does anyone remember Mr Mudd and can tell us more about the man who made such a difference in the USA?

If you have any information, email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk