Tony Lawrence was clearly a popular man.
We first started to tell of this New Zealander’s Sunderland links at the start of this month and promised more in the weeks to come.
It seems the story has reached Tony’s extended family far and wide with at least three relatives getting in touch and with a reunion on the horizon.
Today, we complete the tale with a final look at Tony’s early days on Wearside.
Chris Cordner reports.
Family remedies were often the way that Wearside people treated their injured and sick relatives in days gone by.
Gran used to bath his eyes with cold tea to relieve the soreness. Our grans used many old home remedies. You could not afford the chemists shop. They were used on me as a boy a few times for different ailmentsTony Lawrence
After all, not many people could afford the cost of the pharmacy shop.
Tony, now a New Zealand resident, remembers his younger days when he visited his gran and grandad Isabella and Ambrose Lindsley who lived in Bramwell Street, Hendon.
On one such occasion, one of the family suffered eye injuries when they were affected by the flash from welding equipment.
The unfortunate victim was Ambrose, one of six children born to Bella who was Tony’s auntie.
But because Ambrose had the same name as granddad, he was known by the nickname of Amy.
Tony recalled: “My mother’s eldest sister Bella had six boys.
“Ambrose, the second eldest was named after granddad. My Gran brought him up. He was like a brother to my mam.
“They were always very close as was I to Amy. My wife, looking at the photo says ,when I was a young lad, I was the spitting image of Amy.
“Amy served his time as a elder in the yards and here is a photograph of him with three mates.”
Does anyone recognise them as Tony would “love to put a name to them.”
He added: “Mam used to tell about the times Amy came home after receiving a welding flash, also called Arc Eye.
“Gran used to bath his eyes with cold tea to relieve the soreness. Our grans used many old home remedies. You could not afford the chemists shop.
“They were used on me as a boy a few times for different ailments.
“Amy later worked for Steels, welding jibs for Coles Cranes and sea buoys, before leaving welding behind for good.”
Tony is in his late 60s now.
He said: “I am a retired heavy truck mechanic and we have lived in New Zealand since 1983. We have two sons, one daughter and three grand children.”
He loves everything to do with ships and remembers the day he was taken on board a ship which had just completed her sea trials.
“The smell of cooking filled the ship. I was told this was a result of everything being put on trial and the new owners would have been present and everybody had a taste.
“Even today, I cannot get enough of ships - or any boat’s engine room for that matter.
“I love checking them out and figuring how it all works.”
And that led him to a funny story - a real-life tale of his own close encounter with one vessel on the Wear.
“I ventured up right onto the bow of the ship and stood looking down at the river , when there was a blast from the tannoy behind me.
“It scared me to death. .I nearly lost my balance and went over the side. I was trembling, I couldn’t swim and still cannot to this day.
“I looked back to the “bridge” and there stood Gordon and a few chaps laughing their heads off!”
Toni only remembers that the ship was one of a pair of “refers” built for the New Zealand meat trade.
“I have been trying to find the names of these two ships for years , the second part of the name was STAR What was the first name?”
He has another question as well.
He remembers models of large ships which were built on the Wear and that they used to be on display in a Sunderland museum before they all disappeared.
What happened to them? Tony would love to know.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can provide an answer.