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.


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The Ridgalites who played amongst the dirt knew no better.

 There was Gerald McGill, Teresa, and her sister, Alan Henderson, John Bine, Tommy Toby, Phil, and Ian, and his sisters. June Patterson, her Sister Ann, and brother John, The Ferguson’s, David, and his two sisters, Maureen, Irene, Cathleen, Jean, Vera, and  John, Tony, Brian Patterson, Kim and Robin Thompson, George and Lyn Wood. John Day, The Aritaki families they all lived in Briarwood Avenue together. All mixed races lived in harmony and this was echoed in every street on the estate. There was no racial prejudice; they all shopped on Marina Avenue and played in the streets together.’ They went to the local schools and started work in the local factories, worked on the fish quay, or went into the ship yards. This was the way life was for many growing up on the Ridges Estate. Many looked forward to the six weeks summer holiday when the sun shined and stayed light until ten o’clock every night. The walls were so hot you could fry an egg on them. Life was one endless adventure and even though they had nothing they were happy.



When the Roaring Venture had made the Shetland’s Eddie Saint radioed his friends John Ellis, and Billy Bones. There were a lot of boats out all trying to out do the other. The Aurora, the Charisma, Irene Kinnaird, Pegasus, and Midas Girl, all joined the Provider 11 for the fishing grounds in Iceland. Eddie told them that he was heading for the Faroe Islands.’

The islands in the North East Atlantic were rich in many fish species including the cod, and haddock, halibut, herrings, plaice, and salmon were also caught. The Faroese people still hunt the Fulmar a seabird, when they are young and they are too plump to fly. Scooped up using a net the head is separated from the body so the entrails come with it. The wings are then chopped off and the birds plucked. They are about the size of a small chicken and are either boiled or roasted. The Faroe Islanders use a blow torch to render the fat from the birds which gives them a distinct Smokey flavour. Each family take between 50 and 200 hundred birds per year which is a free meat source. The Faroese people still kill whales for their meat. They are herded into the shallows where they are slaughtered. The sea around the Faroe’s runs red with blood as the whales are killed by expert fishermen. Activists from all over the world come to try and stop the hunting. The police stop them because legally they can kill up to 800 whales per year. There are fish factories on Nolsey, Vagoy, Klaksvik, and Suderoy. They fish farm salmon as a sustainable source and there are plans to do the same with other fish species. The cod are highly prized here because they feed on shrimp and other shell fish. The meat on the fish does not break up during the cooking process and has a rich flavour. Sainty blew the horn to warn his crew to clear the deck as the first net was shot; now the long process would begin. There were other boats in the area fishing for shrimp and herring; Eddie was worried that his nets would get caught up and he would lose his precious cargo. The pelagic fishermen kept a keen eye out for other boats infringing on their space. The locals didn’t like the intrusion of foreign boats that plundered the rich harvest around the Islands.

The captain of the Torshavn, Erick Verber was such a man; he believed that the Islands belonged to his people and they should have an exclusion zone whereby the boats could only fish in a certain radius.

Both the Icelandic people and the Faroese Islanders were in talks with the fisheries commission in order to try and stop the invasion of foreign boats in their waters.



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