The Ridgalite

The Rigalite focuses on the People who lived in Marina Avenue in the Ridges Estate in North Shields. Eddie Saint owns the Roaring venture a trawler moored at the fish quay- his crew work hard and play hard - one of them is Ron Lee a young lad who has aspirations of becoming a rock star. He was in the Royal Navy on board the HMS Illustrious as a trained chef before joining the trawler boat. The lads all tell him that his songs are crap because they don't wan't to lose a good cook. The story also tells of two rival shop keepers- Ronnie Hancock and Billy Burston have been each others throats for years- read the comic antics of both men. "The Ridgalite is an insite of life in the early sixties on an an estate with high unemployment and little hope - where every day is a constant struggle. There are some though who prove that if you have hope then dreams can come true.


15. 15

Billy Burston went to bed contented that night as he’d finally seen his day with the mad Scotsman. There would be no more pranks from him he thought.


Saturday night was club night for many around the Ridges area Many Ridgalites took their wives out for some entertainment. In 1962 there were many local groups trying to hit the big time. The Vikings, The Symitars, Noddy’s Purple Train, and Satan’s Claw were all in demand. Ron Lee and Satan’s Claw were playing in the King Street Club.

They had top billing and would come on after Bobby Knutt the comedian and a country singer called Tommy Glass. The club was packed by seven o’clock and you were hard pushed to find a seat. The room was filled with conversation and cigarette smoke and the noise got steadily louder as more and more beer was consumed. The band tuned up their guitars then began to play a rehearsal before the comedian came on. Dougie Cook and the rest of the crew from the Roaring Venture were sitting in a reserved table near the front.

“What did you tell the gaffer to get out tonight then Dougie asked Des Baldwin?’

“Nowt mate, she’s gone and took her mother with her.’

“So you’re a free man then.’

“Aye I am.’

“Whey you could have fooled me cos’ she’s over there with hor mother.’

“Give over Des; I’m not fallin’ for that one.’

“See for yourself then, they’re sittin’ behind us.’

“Dougie turned and clocked Tracy’s mother staring in his direction.’

“Diven’t worry about them said Dougie she can do what the hell she likes from now on.’

“Good cos’ there’s two crackin’ birds sitting over there and they are on their tod.’

 “What are we waitin’ for then let’s get over there and get them over here.’

“You sure,’

“Yes, the two men got up and walked towards the table and began a conversation within twenty minutes Des had asked them to join them on the table at the front.’

“How did you wangle a seat up here asked Betty White the slim blonde with attractive features. The other girl was Paula Becks whose mother ran the Dock Hotel; better known as Minnie Becks. Minnie was a no nonsense woman who would refuse to serve anyone she didn’t like the look of. Paula was only five feet four in height but she was very pretty and Dougie felt instant attraction between them. Half way through Tommy Glasses act Tracy Mason got up and left with her mother. Her mother was well known by everyone and men usually kept a wide birth.’

Dougie ignored her as she left and carried on with his conversation.

Paula worked in the rent office on Bedford Street she explained and had been there since leaving school.’

“I bet that you went to Linskill Paula?

“You are dead right how did you guess?’

“Well you must be good at maths to work in the rent office; so I guess you passed your eleven plus and left with some qualifications.’

“Yes, five GCE’s; did you leave with any?’

“One in Woodwork he laughed.’

“Shows creativity Doug’

“Women like men who are good at DIY you know.’

“Well I do all my mam’s job’s in her house for her.’


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