Although well into his eighties, he was described in the St. George's Parish Magazine as "just one of the lads". Dispite his many difficulties, a more easy-going guy you wouldn't wish to meet! A friendly and well respected resident at the grange and coupled with an enthusiasm for church an its many activities, he lives out his phylosophy on life "Hakuna Matata" - "Have no worries!" His ability to not fret and get on with life, whatever it throws at him, seems to stand him in good stead.
Born in 1925 in Abbs Cottage, near Fulwell Crossing, to proud parents Tomas and Lydia, he spent his formative years in Redby School and Monkwearmouth Central. In 1939 he was evacuated to Driffield in East Yorkshire to escape the bombings, finally returning north to start work in Binns' department store in the "wireless" department. He recalls a humorous tale of his notice to quit his job in the department store. His manager would not accept his resignation because it wasn't Saturday, he must work another week before he could leave; howerver, the Luftwaffe helped him out somewhat when they bombed the store that Tuesday! Because of that, the work-force were all paid off. After a short stay at Jopling's Glass Works, he moved to his most permanent post of 30 years as an electrician at British Ropes 'seventh heaven' he called this, "I should have paid to go and work there!" Why? Well, does anyone remember Craven's Angels? Seven hundred rough buy good-hearted female workers. In fact the fairer sex do seem to play a large part in his life; his favourite was Elsie whom he met on Seaburn Promenade and married in 1948. Their marriage spanned 52 years and, believe it or not, he says they never quarrelled! They had one son, Kenneth , who is now lecturing at South Tyneside College. Kenneth has produced two fine sons whose passion is Rugby, which Harry now enjoys with them. Alex and Alistair have represented England at Under-16 level and are members of Westoe Rugby Club. Harry extols the fortunes of rugby as a game - developing a true team spirit - not like present-day footballers......
Harry spent many years living in the Hawthorns, as well as commuting from their caravan in Evenwood (Nr Bishop auckland) to and from work. It was after a heart attack that he was forced to return to the village and live in The Grange. Harry tends to see himself as a late developer where religiion is concerned; he was confirmed at the age of 66 - Yes, folks, it's never too late. He recalls a story of another mild attack whilst in church; "at least it was before the collection", he laughed. He loves his visits to St George's and certinly seems to enjoy the gender imbalance but, most of all, he loves it when the Sunday School children come come down into the church - "It realy brings the service alive", he says. This particular theme, especially regarding children, highlights one of his great disappointments in life. He really would have liked to be a teacher, I bet he would have made a good one! Harry is an avid book-reader, mainly of fiction, and also sees himself as a bit of a Sinatra-type crooner. He is often first up to sign at the Fellowship of the Services meetings, being a forces veteran. He has also had a share of TV celebrity status, with appearances on two TV shows, including winning a cool £3,500 on "Bobs Ful House".
Harry enjoys a drink or two but hates washing up - that's why he's often out in a hostelry somewhere having a meal or a quiet drink with his mates. (The White Swan does a great meal.)
Harry is, and always will, be one of the lads - always ready with a joke or tale and a friendly smile or wink. (especially for the ladies) If you see him out and about don't hesitate to stop and chat, as he will always give you the time of day! Hakuna Matata, Harry....
Links to other Boldon Characters:
Catherine Lynch | Cristobal Compois | Elaine Carr | Etta | Hannah Walker | Harry Reay | Hilary and Wout | Howard Ross | Ian Cullen | Keith Jones | Ken Longstaff | Sam Bartram | Yvonne Quenet