There was another press conference at London’s Heathrow Airport then Joe said goodbye to his fellow athletes. He then boarded another plane to Newcastle. He had rang his father to pick him up but when he arrived it seemed that the whole of North Shields had turned up to welcome him home.
It took him nearly half and hour before he was able to get away in the car his father had hired on his behalf.
“Are you alright then son?
“Yes father, just a little tired.”
“Well bare with me because they are all waiting for you in the Percy Main Club.”
Is Bella there?
“Yes; everyone is there.”
“They have organised a party in your honour son. The Mayor is there and Neville Trotter the conservative leader and Molly Brown the labour leader.”
John Kimber pulled into the Car park and then got out. Joe walked in with his father and the doorman stood up and shook Joe by the hand.
“Joe you are wor hero bonny lad.” North Shields will never forget what you have done for this toon.”
“Thanks Bob that is nice of you to say.”
“Ganan get yersel up stairs they are al’ waitin’ for ya.”
Joe walked up with his father and as he opened the door there was hundreds of people crammed into the club.
They all started singing “Run for Home” by Lindisfarne the local Geordie band.
Joe got up onto the stage. You couldn’t hear yourself think for the cheering going on then Joe called for silence.”
“He took the microphone from the club chairman, and stood to compose himself before speaking.
“Well Ladies and Gentlemen and distinguished guests; the club committee has broken the fire regulations this time.”
Seriously though folk’s thank you for this great welcome home.”
“I had you all behind me when I was up on that stage. I would like to thank my parents who have been a tremendous support to me over the years.”
“I would also like to thank Eric Sanderson; is he here tonight?
Eric stood up and said that he wouldn’t have missed it for the World.
“Eric took me when I was just an eleven year old and turned me into a world champion.” I would also like to thank Gary Langford my coach on the Olympic squad. I have a few friends in here tonight and they have been with me from the beginning they are Ralphie Mason, Paul Kerrigan, and Kevin Skipsey.”
Thanks for your support lads. If I’ve missed anyone I’m sorry. Now I don’t want to stop you all from valuable drinking time so enjoy yourselves.”
“Another great cheer went up.
“Wait! I forgot something said Joe.