Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Have your say

The greatest live act I’ve ever seen

YOUR article on the stars who appeared at the Empire in the 50s brought back memories to me.

I saw all those you mentioned and some you didn’t such as Dickie Valentine, Michael Holliday and Joan Regan.

Ken Mackintosh had an excellent orchestra and his vocalist, Kenny Bardel, was top class. Many years later Kenny played the local club circuit and had lost none of his polish.

But by far the best of them was the great Billy Daniels. I and some friends were lucky to get seats in the “gods” and to say the theatre was packed to the rafters is no over-statement.

The moment Billy walked on to the stage he had the audience in the palm of his hand. Accompanied by Benny Payne, a pianist who had played with some of the great swing orchestras of that era, Billy set the theatre alight with his renderings of That Ol Black Magic, Bye Bye Blackbird, Deed I Do, and Yiddishe Mama among others.

The atmosphere was electric, with girls swooning and rapturous applause at the end of each song. The audience would not let him go and he made several encores before he was allowed to leave.

For showmanship, personality and sheer class Billy Daniels remains the best live act I have ever seen. In his prime he rivalled Laine, Ray, Cole, Como and even Sinatra. What a pity he is forgotten now.

L. Blythyn, Charters Crescent, South Hetton

Stop overseas aid

I CANNOT understand David Cameron throwing our hard-earned money at any country that is going through a bad time.

The first statement Cameron made when he was elected was that “overseas aid” would continue regardless. Right now Britain gives £12billion – not million, but billion – every year.

Where does a large chunk of this money go? Well, according to the Sunday Times, £4billion goes to Pakistan every year. What do we send this huge amount for? Well, it is supposed to help them with their problems, especially aimed at their insurgency difficulties with the Taliban. According to a recent report in the Times, the high-ups in the Pakistan army are buying expensive equipment for their generals – armour-plated vehicles and vests for lots of their officers etc!

Our lads out there cannot be supplied with these items, but Britain keeps throwing our money all over the place instead of here at home where everyone is suffering because of massive cuts to our standard of living. Only recently we gave away £38million to an African country in need.

Now I am sorry for the problems of the world, but enough is enough. Let’s stop giving taxpayers’ money away until we can afford to without putting our own people in jeopardy.

David Rogers, Pensioner

Close this tip

AT Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on July 8, Biffa Waste Services were fined £27,000 plus £8,000 costs over instances of a foul stench coming from the Houghton Quarry tip.

Although this sounds substantial, in fact it works out at less than a penny per day for each of the people who have been affected by the stink. It isn’t even a drop in the ocean of cash Biffa has made out of spoiling the lives and environment of the people of Houghton.

For years the people of the Houghton area have called for the site to be closed and remedial action taken. Once again we call upon the regulatory authorities to take action which they owe to the taxpayers who pay their wages.

Without further delay they must close this eyesore.

Sheila Ellis, Secretary, Residents Against Toxic Site (Rats)

Mackems in exile

COULD you mention to your readers about our Sunderland AFC supporters’ club, as there are a lot of Mackems who live in the south of England and read the Echo online.

We are a group of exiled Mackems who follow Sunderland.We are based at Horsham and have members living all over Sussex and Surrey.

The supporters’ club was first formed in 1998 and relaunched in 2006 by our chairman, Paul Angus.

We have since started a leaflet campaign at away games in London, as we want to raise our membership in the Sussex and Surrey area and also to let exiled Mackems in the south of England know they are not alone down here.

Our aim is to keep local supporters informed of events at the club with regular social meetings, informal chats and discussions.

We offer help in making travel arrangements where possible by car sharing, mini van hire or travelling together on trains etc.

We would like to reach supporters who might be interested in joining us. More information can be found on our website:

Ken and Penny, Sussex and Surrey SAFC Supporters’ Club

Joplings memories

YA KNAR Missus! In my days, Joplings was in High Street, owa the road to Pompa’s Ice Cream Parlour and Sloane’s Billiard Hall.

As a tiny tot, if I got some new clothes, my Dad would say with a grin “Have you had a club off?” Everybody would laugh, because Joplings was a “club shop”, much of whose income was generated from “club agents” who got a shilling in the pound from the business that they created from their customers. In the meantime, Joplings gave the account holder, who just may be a club agent 2½ per cent discount for settling their monthly account promptly.

Joplings also were in the money. I mean Joplings money, Missus. Sure enough in those days, people were issued with Joplings money, which was supposedly only to be spent in Joplings. Sad to say that some poor folk were so destitute and in despair, that they sold Joplings money for “legal tender”. People who were hard up couldn’t afford to shell out money immediately for such trivia as food and clothes. My folks were reasonably well off, being wholesale and retail confectioners. They had known hard times as in the depression of the 20s. Getting a “club off” was no joke and a godsend to some.

My dad promised me a bike if I passed the 11 plus exam, and I did. Off we went to Joplings. He got me the bike that he wanted me to have, a lousy “sit up and beg”, sturdy, last you for ever Phillips. Me, I wanted a Raleigh or a Claud Butler racer with drop handle bars, Reynolds 531 tubing and “derailer gears”. To my disgust, encouraged by one of his mates, George Howard, who worked in Joplings, they won. Of course they were right. The Phillips bike was built like a battleship and just as heavy as one.

Talking about George Howard. George and his family were radio people with a shop in Hudson Road near my Dad’s shop. In those days, the Howards not only saw to wirelesses, but they recharged accumulator batteries, which were filled with acid. George was a whizz-kid with wireless (radio). He was on the ground floor, literally, in introducing television to Joplings and many of the people of Sunderland. During the war, people had a massive piece of furniture called a radiogram. This combined a radio and gramophone. Many a person bought items like this with Joplings money.

Missus! I didn’t want to set the world on fire. I don’t think that Mr Swann would have been amused either. I’m talking about Joplings fire, Missus. All up in puff of smoke. Well, a bit more than that. Word went round like wildfire that Joplings had been burnt down. The heat was so fierce that it affected the shops on the other side of the street, like Pompas and Sloane’s Billiard Hall. The fire brigade couldn’t bring the blaze under control, so poor old Joplings Store in High Street hit the dust.

Little Billy Craggs

Search Party

I AM trying to trace Lilian Richardson, whom I used to work with at Old Cosmos, Pallion, in the 50s. We worked together in the general stores.  

I think she lived at Red Housee.

My name is Ronnie and I used to work with Bill Gibson and George Hammond.

Hope someone can help. Thank you.

Mr R. Herron, 16A Westbourne Grove, Westcliff On Sea, Essex

I AM trying to trace my dad, John Thomas Reginald Rose.

He is 71 and originally from the Easington Lane area.

His parents were Robert and Robina Rose.

He married Avril Errington (formely known as Avril Sykes) and they had three children: John Dean, Mark Amthony and Ruby Victoria.

My dad was last seen two years ago in Penshaw.

If anyone has any information about him, I would be grateful if they could contact me.

Ruby Victoria Rose, Tel. 07715 358508.

I AM trying to trace Belle Baker, who sent me a card. Please come and see me, Belle, and any old friends who remember me from Plessey’s or Dame Dorthy Crescent.

Anne Kemp,

3 Lewis Crescent, Hendon, Sunderland