Staff delighted by Eurythmics star Dave Stewart's sudden visit to his former Sunderland school

Teaching staff were delighted when a famous old boy suddenly turned up and asked if he could tour his former school.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 6:54 pm

Dave Stewart attended Barnes Infant and Junior Schools, in Mount Road, Sunderland, before finding fame in the 1980s as a guitarist with The Tourists and The Eurythmics.

Still enjoying success as a songwriter and producer, Stewart was visiting the city earlier this month when he made an “off-the-cuff” detour.

Mr Stewart, who left Barnes in 1964 for Bede Grammar School, told the Echo: “I have driven past before when I’ve been in Sunderland but haven’t been in since I left.

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“It was a completely off-the-cuff visit. I did not have an arrangement, school was finished for the day and the gate was open.

“So I went inside, announced myself to the staff and asked to have a look around. They were very welcoming and it brought back so many memories.

“The school looks the same from the outside but the classrooms are so different from back then when there were little brown desks in a row and chalk dust everywhere.”

Headteacher Julia Belshaw said: “We were delighted to see him and to hear that he had good memories of the school and Sunderland.

“We obviously knew about his time at the school but never thought we would ever see him here.”

Mr Stewart, who now has a home in the United States, lived in Barnard Street, near his school, until he was about nine when his family moved further away to Ettrick Grove.

He said: “Then school started to get stressful as I had to get up earlier to walk through Barnes Park.”

Mr Stewart, 67, was in the region to appear alongside singer Beverley Knight at the Sage Gateshead and to begin work on a new musical with Northern Stage.

Dave Stewart outside the Barnes Infant and Junior School buildings.

He later wrote about his Barnes visit on his Facebook page and described how a little girl offered him half the cake her mum had given her for break on her first day at school.

Recalling the memory as “the first time I’d met an angel”, he said: “I think I know her name but I best not say it in case I get it wrong.”

Dave Stewart with members of staff at Barnes Infant School.