Letters, Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

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Happy memories of days in Deptford

LATELY letters have been printed in the Echo about Deptford. Alas the Deptford I knew is no longer there, but I thought even so why not have my two penn’orth.

I seem to recognise Friday night’s writer Allan Winter. He mentioned his brother, who I think is Ronnie, who passed for Bede School from St Andrew’s School. He got a party.

My own sister Belle, along with two other Sunderland girls, got the first free pass to the Bede. My sister got a bicycle to help her get to school. This was in 1936. I wanted a bike, and I got one. It was off Fal De Roldol’s cart. I think that is how his name goes. Fal, a Sunderland character, was also known as the candyman boxer. He used to go around the booths in those days.

Anyway, having got my bike that cost my dad two shillings (10p) I ran a thousand miles running messages for the neighbours to get money to buy brake blocks, mud guards, a bell plus every other thing a bicycle needed. I had that bike until I went into the Navy, then my mother gave it away, along with my other treasures.

Allan mentioned the Dene. The Dene took no prisoners. He or she always came away with knees, hands or elbows minus skin. The Dene was ruthless. In the winter it was good for making snow houses, then you had bonfire night, football, cricket. We were a well-knit gang that played every game ever invented. We always met outside Mrs Calvert’s at the end of Rosanna Street. She never complained about the noise we made.

Allan also mentioned the bicycle rides on the Dene. My recollection was when Tom Cowie’s father used to bring fairy cycles on a cart and charge the kids five to 10 minutes a ride depending on how many rags you brought. Then you could have 15-20 minutes for the number of woollens you bought.

We have heard of Lamby the Millfield control, “if you don’t get in your twosies you don’t get in”. Then there was his side-kick, old Snowball, with his overcoat down to his ankles and his First World War medals proudly shown. He had white hair and a large moustache.

The Millilie, Tim McCoy, Ken Maynard, Buck Jones, Rin Tin Tin and the Clutching Hand when all the kids hid behind the seats. Those were the days. I could go on but the Echo may not have the space – or run out of ink.

John Coates, Zetland Square, Sunderland

Wonderful care

HAVING been in Sunderland Royal Hospital for several weeks, I would like to thank the nursing staff for the patient and kind care they gave me on Ward E51.

Also thanks to the domestic staff who, every day, literally swept me off my feet and saw to my liquid intake. Not forgetting the chef, who supplied our ward, with the help of his workers, with substantial daily meals.

The nurses were indeed angels in disguise and kept our ward going with their friendliness and humour.

I hope the girls who promised to see me in my new home will do so.

M. Taylor, Ettrick Grove, High Barnes, Sunderland

Iconic actress

ANGIE Dickinson was born on September 30, 1931, and is one of the great American actresses.

She appeared in Hollywood movies including The Killers, Point Blank, Rio Bravo, The Sins of Rachael Cade, Murder She Wrote and is best remembered as Sgt Pepper Anderson in the ITV crime drama Police Woman.

At one time she was married to the composer and songwriter Burt Bacharach and mixed with world famous stars over the years such as Lee Marvin, Robert Wagner, Joan Collins, Roger Moore, Angela Lansbury, Robert Redford, Ricky Nelson, John Wayne, Mitzi Gaynor and Ronald Reagan.

I won’t forget the American actress, an icon for so long, the lovely Angie Dickinson.

Terry Christie, Woodside Terrace, East Herrington

Charity’s thanks

MY name is Susan Dixon and I have been with Barnardo’s for over 13 years. I work at the charity’s Sunderland Furniture Store next to Park Lane bus station.

It is always uplifting in these difficult times to meet someone who can be generous and modest at the same time, and last week that happened to me.

A gentleman came in and made a donation of £100 and when I asked his name he said that he wished to remain anonymous.

I would also like to thank all of our generous donors who have given us their unwanted furniture, without which we would not be able to cope and raise the necessary money needed for our many local projects.

Susan Dixon, Retail manager, Sunderland city centre