The Street Urchin

The Street Urchin is set in North shields and tells of young Billy Phelps a promising young footballer- his father is a trawlerman and has no time for his children or his wife when he meets a Norwegian girl and begins an affair.
The impact of the the marriage break up and triumph over adversity are told in this heartwarming story.


15. 15

Billy got his kit from inside the bag he was carrying where he went into the changing room and shower area. The other boys all laughed as he began to undress.

“Quiet in there shouted Paul Tucker who was the PE teacher “Hurry up Phelps your holding up the class.”

“Coming now sir said Billy as he slid his plimsolls on then pulled up the football shorts that his mother bought from the second hand shop.

Billy’s father cared not about his home or his kids; he was all about his boat. The vast majority of his money went on diesel or new nets, repairs and wages for his crew.

He kept a tight reign on the money he earned and gave his wife very little when it came to money for food and clothing.

Lizzy had a part time job in hair dressers which brought in a few shillings a week. She also did neighbours hair of an evening which she charged less than the salon would charge.

She had a steady income each week as she either set, cut and blow waved or did a perm on the hair of her neighbours.


Billy ran into the gym where all the boys lined up against the climbing frame.

“Right you lot; said Mr Tucker, I want ten laps of the gym, when I blow my whistle you must change direction and run the other way.”

Mr Tucker blew the whistle and the class began to jog around the gym until he blew it again and the class began to jog the other way.

Then Mr Tucker pulled out the gym ropes and asked each team of five to climb up.

“Come on! Phelps; hurry up lad.”

Billy struggled up the rope more out of fear than strength. Looking down he froze.

“Phelps, are you going to stay up there all day? Come down now!

“Coming Sir.”

“Now lads grab the vaulting box and bring it over here, and you three bring those mats; pointing at the three boys who were carrying on behind his back.

The boys hurried to where the wooden vaulting box was then brought it over.

The mats were placed in front then the boys lined up to jump over it.

Mr Tucker was quite muscular he had been a good amateur boxer in his youth and took pride in his physique. He took the wooden ramp and brought it across and placed it where the boys had lined up.

Right lads I will show you what I want you to do then you can follow alright.

“Yes sir.”

Mr Tucker wearing a pair of tight tracksuit bottoms and a white vest with his gym instructors badge on it stood back from the vaulting box then to a short run up bounced on the ramp then sailed over the box with his arms held out in angel fashion. He landed onto the mat then smartly put his feet together and pulled his arms by his sides and stood to attention.

Okay he said you’ve all seen me do it; now it’s your turn.

The boys all went one after another in single file.



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