The Jolly Boys

Shirley Stephenson is a bored housewife who never stops day in day out, its the same humdrum existence. Bob her husband is a lazy good for nothing. who lost his leg in an industrial accident and is claiming benefit fraudulently. he keeps her short and moans because she goes to the bingo. Shirley finds the courage to file for a divorce and free herself. her life is suddenly transformed after she finds all of the compensation that Bob has been hiding from her. she orders a taxi she takes £30.000 and takes a box with some things that her gran had left her.


35. 35

 He repaid the money with interest that Margaret had loaned him to get started and he offered her a part share in the company which she gladly accepted. Keith was now working on a disc that could store music. It would change the way people listened to music and the sound quality would be a whole lot better.


Music stores like HMV, Sony, Columbia records, and many others were waiting with baited breath for this new innovation in music technology, he was even working on another Disc that could produce movies that could be watched via the notepad. The race was on to beat the major competitors. Keith had to keep one step ahead of them and his concept had to be kept secret until its launch. By the time Keith was 25 years old, he was one of the richest men in the world. It was estimated that he was worth close to £750 million pounds.

Keith and Margaret were married in 1991 and she had twin boys two years later who she named Edward, Arthur, and James Robert. They moved into a converted stately home in Northumberland called Bolham Hall. It had been owned by William 1 (Rufus) in 1066. Keith bought the home for £3.4 million pounds. Keith spent a further £6 million restoring the home to its former glory before moving in.

Keith’s father and his mother came to accept Margaret and were proud of their son and their grandchildren. Shirley and Gary were also regular visitors to the Stately Home which had a butler, a cook, and servants.


Margaret looked out of the window of her house onto the extended lawn at her boys as they played with their father. She smiled thinking how much her life had changed from living in the three- bedroomed house in Holy Cross in Wallsend. Everything had worked out right for both her mother and father. There was a touch of sadness as she thought about her brother Jimmy who never lived to see all of the success’s they had made or her children. She opened the window and shouted to her husband that they were now serving tea in the drawing room. Keith told the boys that their mother was calling and they stopped and ran towards the gravelled path towards the house.
















On 31st of December 1993 whilst visiting several bars in Wallsend high street that he was looking after. Viv Graham was gunned down. He returned to his Ford Sierra Cosworth to find the driver’s window had been smashed.  Three shots rang out believed to be from a 357 Magnum one blew a hole in his back another in his chest and another in his thigh severing the femoral artery. The gunmen left in a stolen Ford Escort later found burned out in Heaton Newcastle. Viv dragged himself back to the Queens Head where friend Terry Scott another bouncer found him. “Get me up on my feet, I don’t want people seeing me like this.’ Said Viv as his life was ebbing away. They rushed the 18 stone Viv to hospital but after giving him no less than 30 pints of blood the local hard man died some four hours later aged only 34. Some called Viv Graham a likeable rogue. Others who he later fell out with called him a bully. One thing was certain when he was around he kept order. Viv was anti- drugs and that may have brought about his demise as other gangs from the West End wanted to sell drugs in the bars that he was looking after. Several attempts were made on his life and he told friends that he would never see his 40th birthday. The Graham family put up a reward of £100.000 pounds for any information leading to the conviction for their son’s murder. Freddy Knights who turned supergrass named Viv Grahams killer. The police interviewed over 1000 people and visited over 500 homes. His killer has never been brought to justice.

Author’s note:

Viv Graham was boxing for West End Boys Club when I was boxing for Sommerville ABC. Under the tutorage of Norman Fawcett R.I.P at that time. I started learning to box at North Shields Boys Club under Joe Myers and Eric Clarke R.I.P and then St Edward’s ABC with Pat Connors and Michael Garrity R.I.P. I had been boxing a lot longer than Viv, starting out as a schoolboy at the tender age of 9 years in 1967 and was a veteran over a hundred bouts when I met him back in the early 1980’s. I fought on some of the same bills as him as a welterweight and light middleweight.  I always found him to be a likeable lad. He always had a smile on his face. I bumped into him at a pro boxing do at Crowtree Leisure centre where I had gone to support the local lads, Jeff Decker a former spar mate was boxing on the bill.  He had retired from boxing then but everyone had heard about his exploits outside of the ring.  Viv had gone from being Just 14st to a muscular 18st. He was obviously taking steroids to pump himself up to that size. I knew he frequented Andy Webb’s gym in Jesmond Newcastle most days. He was able to bench press 520lbs. He was a formidable sight to say the least. He said hello to me which surprised me, I didn’t think he knew me but obviously he did. It was mutual respect and I shook his hand and asked how he was getting on. He laughed and told me how he was making a living and how he did it. I couldn’t believe the amount of money he was gambling away. He actually offered me a job on the doors but I refused politely. It was £25.00 per night in those days.

 I was earning only £89.00 pounds per week as a school caretaker. It was very tempting. It would have been so easy to get sucked up into that kind of world. A lot of my boxing friends had gone down that route.

I had seen Viv only a day or two before he was shot, he was smiling as usual. He tooted in his car and I waved back. I was totally shocked when I heard he’d been gunned down in some side street on New Year’s Eve. Some people will remember him for all the wrong reasons. I remember him as a former boxer.

R.I.P Viv Graham 1959- 1993.


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