‘When the air show was for family fun’

Sunderland Air Day at Usworth, Washington  1967 old ref number 34-4203'Saturday June 10 1967
Sunderland Air Day at Usworth, Washington 1967 old ref number 34-4203'Saturday June 10 1967
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ON a June Day in 1967, thousands flocked to Sunderland Airport at Usworth, now part of the Nissan site, thrilled to see magnificent men in their flying machines.

The 17,000 plus who streamed there were part of a culture with ingrained values of decency and respect. Working class men with their wives and children wore their Sunday best, picnicked and enjoyed a fun-packed day out, without swilling beer and getting blotto.

How different to today’s Sunderland International Airshow, a three-day shameful chav fest. Here they make a spectacle of themselves with their drinking.

And no doubt deter perfectly good folks from wanting to take their children or grandchildren into this melee of topless fellas, toe-rags dressed for the day, fuelled for aggravation, swilling Fosters down their necks from the slabs they see as obligitory to enjoying themselves.

All this in a no-alcohol zone. If only the booze was confiscated. It’s the drinking that is the down-fall of what is billed as the biggest free airshow in Europe.

What a shift in society’s idea of having a good time to the mid-sixties when the airshow was first given birth by men passionate about flying machines at Sunderland Flying Club with their Airday. Yes, there was a beer tent but the show was all about being thrilled by the Red Arrows, the Spitfires, Currie Wots with flour-bombing fun, Gnat formation aerobatics and glamour girls tied to the planes for wing walks. Some glamour girls we’ll see on the seafront this weekend – more sights with skirts up their backside and tattoos bared.

What tamer times were the sixties when the crowds were wowed by RAF Acklington carrying out a helicopter/air sea rescue, parachute drops and even a gyrocopter, flown by Ernie Brooks, who later tragically died when flying it.

Simple, unsullied entertainment when people of all ages knew how to behave themselves and would no more make a public exhibition of themselves than pigs might fly.

Propriety and not showing yourself up was the watchword of people from all classes who had respect for themselves and others.

What a contrast to today’s shameful sights down the seafront, starting tonight. I despaired after witnessing the worst this airshow brings to our seafront and neighbouring streets last year and wished it were the last.

And yet another year, when fed-up residents of Roker, Seaburn, Fulwell and South Bents hightail it to escape a weekend of misery, with weather permitting, the Airshow takes off. Those who have to stay are bracing themselves. Yes, there’s decent folks there but the chavs spoil it for them and it will be another repeat of previous years, a hideous spectacle of the streets fouled with their beer cans, cartons and vomit.

What is the mentality of these morons who spoil what is a free family day out with their excessive drinking? It’s another excuse to get paralytic. You don’t see the crowds at Wimbledon or Twickers plastered.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink whatever the specatcle you are watching, but for too many it is the highlight.

And what a contrast to Sunderland Flying Club’s show in 1967 when the highlight then was the Red Arrows and a delighted club chairman, Derek Lodge praising the RAF who “laid on a show for us which compares with the best to be seen anywhere in the world.”

The late Sunderland dentist added: “If you enjoy yourselves today and go home thrilled by what you see, that will be sufficient thanks to the Chief Flying Instructor, his willing assistants and all the members of the Sunderland Flying Club who have worked long and arduous hours over the past months to bring to you a display which we hope you will talk about for a long time afterwards.” And all for the right reasons, unlike today’s Airshow. But then there wasn’t a chav in sight.

What’s Cheryl got to write?

EEH wor Cheryl, ah divvint knaar wot cracks us up the most – yer writin yer memwars an arny fower pages on yer Ashley, or gettin ally pally with the royals. Mind, ah divvinit knarr who yer ganna manage fower pages of owt. Mind yer keepin yersel in the news.

I mean to say, yer arny hev yersel to blame fer telling Grazia yer called the Prince of Wales, Charles, efter forgettin arl them lessons in etiquette.

And arl this efter sayin the Queen wonted to stand beside yer at the Royal Jubilee bash and yer getting on famously with wor Kate, As fer yer memwars, oot in October, ah cannit wait. Mebee by then yer reckon yer’ll have pulled Prince Harry who has said he fancies yer. Not that he knaars a word yer sayin. Canny crack ...

Old phones for food

“WE have kids who were so starving they stole frozen meat from a flat they visited and they ate it raw. We’re seeing effectively responsible parents who are just not managing to have food in the house.”

 That damning statement comes from Camila Batmanghelidjh, Kids Company founder, who estimates a million children in Britain now suffer from food insecurity, equivalent to two in every school class.

Not all of these kids are going hungry through poor parenting as mothers and fathers abuse drugs or alcohol or have mental health problems, but because others struggling to make ends meet to feed their families.

What can I do? What can you do?

Charity and parenting website, Netmums, wants the public to donate old mobile phones to help raise more than £1m to feed hungry and vulnerable children.

The majority like me have old mobiles, gathering dust. Dig them out, because each phone donated will provide a month’s worth of meals for an at-risk child.

It’s scandalous that we have to have any Mobiles for Meals campaign, but it’s a plea we cannot ignore.

Old mobiles can be taken to T-Mobile or Orange shops.

The Axe – The Colling hitlist

LET the axe fall on the very idea of renaming Big Ben as Elizabeth Tower.

 MPs have struck the wrong chord here, Jubilee year or no Jubilee year.

 They have indeed misjudged the public mood with 54 per cent of those polled disagreeing with them and only one in three – 34 per cent – in favour.

No need to splash out for one night of fun...

TOTALLY over the top and totally lacking in common sense are so many when it comes to the school prom. And that’s just the mothers.

While some frocks could rival the bigger the better creations of the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding girls, this American import and so-called rite of passage, is costing an ever more pricey packet by those intent on pushing the boat out.

Hundreds and hundreds is spent on one night by mothers so carried away into La La land, determined their daughters will out-do every belle at the ball.

And they don’t put a price on that or rein themselves in when their girls have them forking out for diamante dresses, accessories and day-long beautyifying, as if they were getting wed.

And while we have a bevy of glamour pusses, who carry off their fairytale moment spray tanned with tiara-topped hair extensions and make a grand entrance in a stretch limo or Cinderella horse and carriage, others having blown the bank balance for a Burton, blow their night of nights by looking anything but classy. And that’s nothing to do with class but mother’s not having the common sense to tell their daughters: “You can’t go out in that.”

That’s why I saw one poor girl, who in all innocence had her boobs nearly falling out of her frock because they weren’t suitably under control and another who, by design, wore a halter-neck, nipple-skimming sheath, that left her boobs out of control. Perhaps they did pop out.

Some of these wildly expensive frocks will never be worn again because the girls won’t have anywhere to wear them to.

Of course, those with their heads screwed on, know that you can dress up to the nines and look amazing with a classic frock that will take you anywhere.

I only wish there was more emphasis put on the fun side of this night to take the lads away from tuxedos and the lasses princess creations.

Far better to show your individuality as these young ones pictured did and turn heads in gear that shrieks we’re having a great night and this is me putting on the agony and putting on the style.

What can you see, Mel?

THE Queen’s visit may have been as brief as the sun that came out to greet her at the Port of Sunderland, but it will be one so many will remember for the rest of their lives.

From the Southwick Primary nine and ten-year-olds she spoke with to the graduates from Sunderland Uni, and hundreds more.

What shone through yet again, was how at 86, how hard she works. She packed so much into her tight schedule, I’m not surprised this year has seen the Queen and the Royal Family’s popularity soar to new heights, a survey has revealed. It is the young royals who take poll position – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with 85 per cent and 81 per cent approval ratings respectively.

The Queen is third with 80 per cent followed by Prince Harry on 79 per cent.

Third place says the survey, but for the Sunderland folks she impressed with her unfailing cordiality and interest in every individual she met, she was the tops.

Apart from the Queen brightening up the day in a peach ensemble, one city councillor, Mel Speding, captured on camera, brightened up mine.

Perhaps looking for the answer to Sunderland’s problems ...