Love it or hate it - you all remembered life on board the Nevasa

The Nevasa gets ready to take another 1,000 children on a 12 day educational cruise, in 1974.
The Nevasa gets ready to take another 1,000 children on a 12 day educational cruise, in 1974.

It shaped some people for a life linked to the sea – but for others, it started a lifelong dread of all things nautical.

We’re talking about the voyages on school ships such as the SS Nevasa. They were enjoyed by thousands of children from Wearside and County Durham who would head off to exciting places such as Casablanca, Copenhagen and Tangier.

Tugs lead the ship out for her latest journey.

Tugs lead the ship out for her latest journey.

Many had vivid memories. Last week, we talked about the effect that the fragrant kitchen had on youngsters. Most hated the smell and still remember it.

But the aromas were not the only reason for remembering the Nevasa and the other school ships of the ’60s and ’70s.

This week, we look at more of your memories, and what a mixed bag it was.

For Sue Cruddace, a trip on the SS Nevasa was her first ever voyage but not her last. She said: “My first cruise that ignited a love of being on the sea. Have had many cruises since but never in a dorm of 30-plus with bunk beds and no windows.”

My first cruise that ignited a love of being on the sea. Have had many cruises since but never in a dorm of 30-plus with bunk beds and no windows

Sue Cruddace

Iain Lowson was on board in 1972 and went to Corunna, Oran, Gibraltar and Lisbon. “Yes I was seasick once in the Bay of Biscay,” he said. But he added: “It was the first and only time, I went on to join the Royal Navy in 1986, did my 22yrs and have NEVER been seasick since.”

Sean Hutchinson remembered: “I applied for a trainee chef position on this ship, but joined the army instead.”

And David Rodgers was a passenger in 1968 and loved it.

Jackie Wilson commented: “Madeira, Casablanca, Lisbon, Tenerife ... Great Days, seems like a lifetime ago.”

Getting ready to board the ship in 1974.

Getting ready to board the ship in 1974.

Jill Lambley told us: “Gosh I remember this so well it was a fantastic experience loved every minute.”

But not everyone was so lucky.

Susan Craggs was on the 1972 cruise with Thorney Close School and said: “Bay of Biscay ugh!! Enjoyed rest of it though.”

Sue Tomlinson said: “I went on this. Even the crew were sick through the Bay of Biscay.”

Philip Scott commented: “I was on it in 1970. Experienced sea sickness for the first time.”

There were those of you who remembered the fun and games on the ship.

Linda Brown said: “Our dorm was runner-up in the hockey and came third in the fancy dress competition.”

There were theme songs which were played on board and for some, it was Let It Be by the Beatles. For others, it was Paperback Writer.

Sheila Anderson Swalwell said: “I was on this cruise. I was a dorm monitor. Still have my badge and map of the ship. Lovely memories.”

One particular event at the time stuck in the mind of Kevin Johnson who said: “I went to same places but I think it was 1974. The World Cup Final between West Germany and Holland was on when we got back.”

Ashley Rook headed to Stockholm, Leningrad, and Copenhagen in 1968, and Joan Skinner took in Tenerife, Casablanca, and Lisbon.

Thanks also to Michael Nicholson, who told us that, in 1973, he went to Copenhagen, Helsinki, Stockholm and Kristiansand with Red House Comprehensive School.

Trevor Teasdale recalled: “Yeh remember it well, Master of Arms used to kick us out the dorm on a morning.”

Thanks to everyone who liked the story including Joyce Adams, Linda Thompson, Chris Graham, Phil Laydon, Karen Sullivan and Randeep Chaudhary.

So did Cath Ray, Ingrid Golden, David Whillians, Pat Emmerson, Jean Nelson, Norman Tyler, Margaret Elliott, June Jackson and Lynne Doyle.

Lynne Appleby remembered the Nevasa because she went to watch it leave port.

Thanks also to Cath Ray who said: “Eeeh that’s a great memory... thanks.”

And to Lynda Jackson-Mills, who was a passenger in 1967 and went to Coruna, Lisbon, Tangier, and Bruges. She added: “What larks!!”

Jacqueline Johnston was another one who was a passenger on the ship in the year our photograph was taken, which was 1968. She said: “Yes I was on that had a great time”

Yvette Boundy gets our thanks as well. She said: “Great memories. Went to Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal and Oran in Africa xx.”

Thanks to everyone who responded and reminded us of some great times.

Which nostalgic events from Sunderland’s past would you like us to feature?

Get in touch and tell us more by emailing chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk