The Shieldsman

A story of four young boys growing up in the tower block of flats in Percy Main in North Shields. the story follows them through to adulthood through mischief and lost innocence, love, tragedy, and finally triumph. If you remember what it was like growing up as a child then this story is definitely one for you.


29. 29

“I can’t Bri’ I’m going to the YMCA with my Da’ tonight.

“Pity but we will play you on Saturday afternoon.

“Well I hope you are not going to dickie off wi the ball again if you’re team start loosin’ mind.

When Joe returned from school he asked what time his father would be in.

“He said that he would be in early mam to take me to the YMCA tonight.

John Kimber was asked to work a half shift but refused telling his gaffer that he promised to take his son to join the weightlifting fitness club at the YMCA.

“Okay said his gaffer; I cannot guarantee you any overtime in the future mind John.”

“Look Bob; I’m sorry but I want to do this for my kid.”

John picked up his tools then headed to the changing room where he took off his boiler suit hung it up in his locker after taking out his jacket and putting his tool box inside and locking it up.

He walked home which usually took him a good half an hour. When he arrived Joe asked him what time they were going to the YMCA.

“Give me a chance to get in get washed and have my tea son.”

John took off his jacket then sat down while his wife Sally put out his tea.


It was six thirty when Joe and his father took the bus to Northumberland Square in North Shields. They rounded the corner and went into the grey stoned building. There was a woman behind the desk when John approached and asked to if his son could become a member.

He filled out a form then they gave him a pink membership card where he had to pay one shilling a week subs.

His father paid his first week then asked where the weight training room was. The receptionist told them that it was down stairs and to the right.

John thanked the receptionist then led Joe down stairs. They didn’t need directions because you could hear the sound of heavy weights being lifted then put back onto the metal frames.

John entered the training room where he saw four men in vests and track suit bottoms going through their routine.

“Hello said John; I’ve brought my son Joe; he wants to do some weight training.

“Hi my name is Eric Sanderson I am the instructor here.

Eric looked at Joe and then at his dad before saying how old are you Joe?

“I’m eleven Mr Sanderson.

You’re a big lad for your age, I thought you were sixteen.

“We don’t really take boys until they are sixteen John.

“I am very strong Mr Sanderson; if I can show you said Joe.”

“Alright take off your jumper and keep your vest on and we will see what you can do.”


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