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15 October 2014
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Wooler Avenue Victory Fete

by BBC Open Centre, Hull

Contributed by 
BBC Open Centre, Hull
People in story: 
Sybil Clay (nee Harvey)
Location of story: 
North Shields
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
28 May 2005

Invitation to Wooler Avenue Victory Fete - September 1945

The children's tea-party was held in a large marquee which was erected on a piece of spare ground in Wooler Avenue. The celebrations were officially opened by Mrs Winifred Cuff, who was the much respected landlady of the Pineapple Inn (on the corner of Wooler Ave, and the 'local' pub). All the mothers worked hard, baking cakes and making jellies and such-like for the tea, having saved up their sugar rations for the event. I seem to remember we all scoffed the lot, no left-overs then! A local firm supplied free paper hats - we all wore a hat in the shape of a kipper with "Tyne Brand" printed on the side.

The tea was followed by children's sports; three-legged race, egg and spoon race, toddlers' race etc and Mrs Cuff presented the prizes. The film show was "Saunders of the River" starring Paul Robeson followed by a fireworks display. Apart from a quick scuttle from the house to the air-raid shelter, very few of us children had been out in the dark before, and we had never EVER seen fireworks, so this event was a huge success. Some of the older boys had bought squibs (later banned) and amused themselves by terrifying the girls with these nasty exploding devices.

In the evening, there was a bar in the marquee and dancing in the road, though there were very few male partners, so our mothers danced with each other. (Our community - and everyone else's - consisted mainly of women and children, most of the men being away in the services. There were some men, those who worked in the docks, or grandfathers, or the occasional dad home on leave). Late in the evening, two men, (Royal
Navy?) were a great success, singing "Whispering Grass" from someone's open window. The party went on until late, children curled up and went to sleep anywhere (we were used to sleeping in shelters, after all) and I can't remember my Mum putting me to bed.

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Childhood and Evacuation Category
End of War 1945 Category
Tyneside and Northumberland Category
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