The boy and the seagull

The story tells of a young coble fisherman Tom Lawson who is also a coxswain on the life boat Pegasus in Cullercoats. His father drowned saving the life of a little girl and he wants to follow in his father's footsteps. the story is set in the early fifties a time of sexual revolution and rock and roll. Tom meets Eva a girl who wants the best- brought up on Howdon road she dreams of a better life. She works as a packer at Tyne Brand on North Shields Fish Quay- Tom the handsome Teddy boy with his drapes and crepe shoes charms the young Eva - they end up getting married but things don't run smoothly for the couple who have a son together but he is be-felled with a fever which leaves him unable to hear. This is a story of love-of heartache-and triumph over adversity. This is a story to warm your heart and one i'm sure that you will enjoy.

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On Monday morning Tom took the boat out after checking the shipping forecast on the radio. He checked his string of crab pots that he’d set the day before once they were emptied and baited again he set them again at one pot every six feet. Then he cast out his long line which were a series of hooks on line attached to a main line with floats every twelve feet there were set at various depths to catch different species.

The lines were left out for six hours then hauled in every fish was carefully unhooked and placed into large baskets where they are then sorted and then taken to North Shields market to be sold. On a good day he could make up to ten pounds per eight stone box of fish; but on a bad one around six pounds.

It depended on the demand and how many boats had landed catches on a given day.

It was enough to keep him in work and a roof over his head. He had to buy diesel for the boat and set money aside in case anything should go wrong. There was always fish or crab to eat if he got hungry though.

He had only been home half an hour when the call came. He instinctively rushed back down the bank top to the life boat station where the crew were waiting. Within ten minutes the boat was launched and away he went. Tom was in control of all weather situations; the safety of his crew control of the lifeboat and the launching of the craft.

Today it was a Spanish fishing vessel that had engine trouble; they would need a tow. They were twenty miles due North and it could get pretty rough there. Tom and his six crew members, including a mechanic head out towards to stricken boat which takes those on board about two hours to locate.

The Santa aria was very pleased to see us and the mechanic. After over an hour and a half they had power on board the Spanish vessel and they were able to return to their homeland. Bill Giles the Mechanic returned to the Pegasus, the life boat, it headed back to the station. Five and a half hours it had taken them. They were totally reliant on donations from the public to run the Pegasus lifeboat. And every summer during the tourist season he and his crew would be collecting donations Ivan Johansson was the treasurer and he worked out the budget that they had to keep them afloat.

Every year an appeal was sent to the local newspapers where businessmen, women’s groups, and children would all be raising money to keep the Pegasus going in Cullercoats as the nearest one after that was in Blyth.

It was late when Tom got home he had to ensure all the equipment was stored away and the boat put back ready for the next emergency. He undressed then placed a casserole in the oven to heat up whilst he took a bath. It would be a long soak because he was weary; as he lay in the bath he thought about Eva and hoped that he wouldn’t be called out again this week. Lifeboat men were required to be on standby 24 hours a day. He always had his radio on whilst fishing so that they could pick him up if necessary.

 

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