The children of Sunderland who watched as others headed off on the school ships

A quick photo before saying goodbye.
A quick photo before saying goodbye.

A Sunderland man has shared his memories with-a-difference of the school ship which used to take Wearside youngsters on educational voyages.

Recently, we shared a photograph on social media of the SS Nevasa getting ready to sail in 1968 – taking Durham County schoolchildren to Stockholm, Leningrad and Copenhagen.

Watching the Nevasa head out to sea.

Watching the Nevasa head out to sea.

Sunderland man John Kelly had a different perspective. He lived in the East End of Sunderland in the late 1960s and early to mid 1970s.

He said: “I was a pupil of St John’s School in the heart of the East End of Sunderland, which was a very poor area during this period but had an extraordinary sense of comminuted spirit. A community, which I’m sure a lot of others living through those times in other areas of Sunderland, would say that they knew everyone in the area and anyone new moving into the community would be welcomed and become part of the community.

“My memories as a young child was when the SS Nevasa docked and word getting around the children in the East End very quickly. We used to head straight for the Dock wall where we could see the ship below. It was magnificent, something that we could only dream of boarding, never mind cruise on to all of the exotic places the ship visited.

“The staff working on the SS Nevasa used to throw things onto the dock and we used to scramble around trying to gather as much as we could to take home and show our parents what we had got and proud to be showing them. It was like an achievement. However, looking back to what those items where, which the crew used to throw to us, again makes me smile.

My memories as a young child was when the SS Nevasa docked and word getting around the children in the East End very quickly. We use to head straight for the Dock wall where we could see the ship below. It was magnificent, something that we could only dream of boarding, never mind cruise on to all of the exotic places the ship visited

John Kelly

“It was items such as, sachets of butter, jam and sugar, which were things I had never seen before and thought must have value.

“Great memories but for different reasons to those children lucky enough to experience cruising on the SS Nevasa to all those exotic places.”

Students get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Students get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Suitcases ready for the excitement ahead.

Suitcases ready for the excitement ahead.