Wearside memories of a childhood voyage to remember

Andrea with mum, dad and brother on the deck of the MV England.
Andrea with mum, dad and brother on the deck of the MV England.
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Andrea Dailey had her dreams come true in 1979 when she swapped Wearside for Denmark - with a little helping hand from her local newspaper.

Andrea and her family got to visit Denmark thanks to a trip organised by the Sunderland Echo and DFDS Danish Seaways 39 years ago.

A visit to the ships bridge - and a chance for a photo - for Andrea.

A visit to the ships bridge - and a chance for a photo - for Andrea.

And just like the two stories we featured last week, it was part of a campaign at the time called Go With The Echo. Remember it?

The Dailey family had the times of their lives and it was all thanks to Andrea who was eight at the time and decided to write to the Echo.

She remembered how she had been to Denmark once before but she had been only 10-weeks-old and would have loved to make a return trip.

The paper was happy to oblige, but it was not just Andrea who got to head overseas. So did her dad Tom, mam Catherine and five-year-old brother Stuart.

I didnt think I would meet the captain and hold the steering wheel. It was a very big surprise

Andrea Dailey, 1979

And it turned into a very special occasion as mum and dad were celebrating their wedding anniversary as well as Mr Dailey’s birthday.

The whole idea of the trip was for the Daileys to visit the country where their pal Rita Simick lived.

Mrs Simick previously lived in Thorney Close and both she and Mrs Dailey had worked at the Brian Mills site.

Then Rita married and moved to Denmark in 1965 when her husband took up employment there, and the Daileys had made previous trip to see her.

A visit to the ship's bridge and a chat with Captain Hans Bode.

A visit to the ship's bridge and a chat with Captain Hans Bode.

Andrea knew that she had been to Denmark when she was a mere 10-weeks-old, but she did not remember the ship, the sea crossing or arriving in Denmark.

So she wrote to the Go With The Echo campaign to see if her dream could come true. And it did.

The journey to Denmark included enjoying a typical Danish fare for breakfast of rye bread, cheese, rolls, bacon, scrambled egg, cereal and strong coffee.

It also included a chance for Stuart and Andrea to enjoy the playroom on the ship, as well as a spot of dancing at the disco.

After breakfast, there was an extra treat for the family who got to see the bridge and were introduced to the ship’s captain, Hans Bode.

Andrea and Stuart were both allowed to hold the ship’s wheel as the vessel made its steady way towards Esbjerg on the west coast of Jutland.

Once they arrived at Esbjerg, there was a chance to explore the ‘quiet, clean town’.

The Daileys took in a museum, and had a chat with Mrs Simick – albeit only on the phone as she lived too far north to make the journey.

Then after visiting the shops and buying some presents, it was time for the 19-hour trip home, and this time the journey was far from straightforward with strong winds making it an interesting voyage.

Mr Dailey, who worked for Sunderland Borough’s Highways department, said at the time: “Esbjerg was very clean and the shopkeepers were very polite.”

But he said the family had found the prices in Denmark to be much steeper than back home.

The Echo report at the time said: “Andrea and Stuart had plenty of memories to relate to school friends at Ryhope Street Infants and Juniors.”

Andrea said in 1979: “I didn’t think I would meet the captain and hold the steering wheel. It was a very big surprise.”

And Stuart said he was so impressed, he was thinking of going to sea instead of joining the Royal Air Force.

Just last week, we told of other people who got to Go With The Echo in the late 1970s.

Andrew Rowlands, 9, from South Hylton,achieved his dream of launching a ship when he pressed the button to officially set the new SD 14 Thai Binh on her way from the Austin and Pickersgill yard.

Another Go With the Echo project saw 14 youngsters head for London.

They were all from class 6 at Glebe School in Houghton and they were Stephen Gardner, Lesley Paul, Andrew McMahon, David Robertson, Alison Sparks, Ian Kelley, Angela Rankin, Margaret Rowe, Wilfred Hall, Kevin Stoker, Keith Watters, David Estell, Paul McClean, Gary Baines and two teachers – Ann Elliott and Maurice Alderson.

Do you remember Go With The Echo and did you get to enjoy one of the experiences?

If you do, share those memories and get in touch by emailing chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk