Search for old boys of Sunderland school

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An appeal for help has been sounded by Edward Rimmer and we’re hoping you can come to his aid.

The city resident has shared this photo from around 1948 and it shows St Mary’s RC school.

Good Friday Easter March and Service  16 April 1987 old ref number 59626 Photographer Tony Colling
The service was held at Sunderland Civic Centre.  see Saturday April 18 1987 
Good Friday Parade

Good Friday Easter March and Service 16 April 1987 old ref number 59626 Photographer Tony Colling The service was held at Sunderland Civic Centre. see Saturday April 18 1987 Good Friday Parade

Edward is hoping to trace any old boys who may still be in the area and here are a few more details to trigger your memory.

“It was taken around the year 1948 in St Mary’s Church hall which stood directly opposite the old Sunderland Echo office in Bridge Street. The old church hall has now been demolished, as was the Echo office, to make way for improvements in the bridge area.

“The occasion was the”Dramatisation of the Mass” which was put on by the boys and teaching staff of St Mary’s School (the old Infirmary) on old Chester Road. Only half of the stage was photographed.

“I held a scroll with “Agnus Dei” on it. The boy priest in the centre is Peter Hardy, a fine singer and an apprentice compositor at the Sunderland Echo. Tragically, he died at the age of 16 from spinal meningitis. I don’t know the name of the priest on the left but next to him is Ronnie Turnbull, Bill Murray, Smurthwaite.

“Kneeling is a boyhood friend Ralph Wisbech. Others that I recognise are Bobby Scott, Michael Donnini, Jimmy Doig, Terry Triggs, Ramshaw, Fairwheather, Crawford, Notarianni and Ronnie Clinton at the top.

“My lifelong friend Cranston Mcleish, who operated the curtain, was on the right side of the stage and not shown on photo.

“This church hall was originally the old school in Pann Lane. My grandfather and his sister, my great aunt Mary Hatcher, attended this school and told my mother that she recognised the cloakroom where she hung up her coat as a child. “My family have worshipped at St Mary’s since the 1820s when the old church was in Dunning Street. I must mention Sr Mary Anselm our Headmistress, Sr Mary Peter and teaching staff of the boys school who were instrumental in the success of the project.”

Our thanks go to Edward who added: “I am now 81 and many in the photo have passed on. But it is great to have these memories in old age. Great people. Great Times. Great School.”

Let’s see if we can help Edward to achieve his dream of being reunited with any survivors of the photo.

Meanwhile, we must also thank Eileen Temple who responded to our request for more information on another photograph with a religious connection - this time of a Good Friday Easter March and Service in April 1987.

Eileen had good reason to remember the photograph taken during the service which was held at Sunderland Civic Centre.

She said: “I can name most of the people in the photograph as I was one of them. Those at the front were all from St Bede United Reform Church in Sorley Street in Sunderland.”

Eileen’s own son Philip is the boy with the banner at the front of the picture. To his right is his sister Victoria and next to her is Eileen.

She added: “The lady in the hat is Eva Mushen. Behind Philip is Margaret Weatherall.”

Behind her is Margaret Dixon and the man next to her is Harry Robson.

Barbara Mitchell can also be identified behind and to the left of Eileen. To her right is Christine Smith.

Eileen added: “The two Margarets, Barbara, Christine and myself all still regularly attend St. Bede URC in Sorley Street. The children made the banners in their Sunday School classes.”

Our thanks go to Eileen for a comprehensive response to our request and we hope other people will come forward.

If you have any aspect of nostalgia you would like to share with us - whether it is research into your own family tree or reminiscences on important moments in Sunderland’s history - get in touch.

We would love to hear from you all.

To contact us with your stories, email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk.