Sunderland and Hebburn shipyard worker turns author with tales from the dockyard

Banter, pranks and a life of great friendship – it’s all in a book based on one man’s shipyard memories.

Sunday, 12th September 2021, 8:17 am

Andrew Coates loved his time in the yards and has used the experience to create a book called The Shipyard: Live life and laugh!

It is based on real-life stories and he was the perfect man to do it after starting his working days as an apprentice marine plumber at Wear Dockyard in Hendon in 1997.

He said: “The people there were absolutely hilarious. Every day (no exaggeration) my throat would ache with laughing so much.

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Andrew Coates who told the Echo about his book The Shipyard: Live life and laugh!

“There were so many crazy characters, some of which I believe should have been stand-up comedians.

“There was always practical jokes going on and great banter between the lads which I tried to capture in the book.”

Andrew added: “Wear Dockyard was bought out in 1998 by Cammell Laird, as well as a yard in Hebburn.

“All the apprentices were moved there including myself. I spent the rest of my apprenticeship at Hebburn and can honestly say I loved every minute of it.

Author Andrew Coates.

“We had so many laughs and it was just a very happy time for lots of happy tradesmen doing what they do best.”

Andrew and others were laid off in 2001 when the company he worked for went into receivership.

“Since then the shipyards in the North East have never really recovered and a lot of workers were forced to work away from home to find work,” he said.

“I went on to work in Barrow in Furnace, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Norway, Saudi Arabia. I had some great times working away but I always miss Sunderland and my family.”

A reminder from 1997.

Andrew’s book on the shipyards is described as a comedy based on down to earth characters who had been thrown together in the Sunderland shipyards.

He is currently working on a follow-up.

He has also written a thriller trilogy which is called Don’t Believe The Truth and which is also based on a central character from Sunderland

Both The Shipyard: Live life and laugh! and the Don’t Believe The Truth books are available on Amazon.

A recent photo of Andrew Coates.

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Andrew Coates who has used his experience in the Sunderland shipyards in his book.