I loved Good Friday because we did the marching
I’m going back to probably the late 1950s early 1960s. I went to Sunday school at Wesley Methodist Church on Coach Lane in North Shields and although I was also a member of the Brownies I don’t ever remember marching with the Brownies. I think it was the Sunday School because a massive part of Good Friday in North Shields at that time was marching in your new clothes and although it was the Procession of Witness, it was always referred to just as Good Friday marching, and it was something we really looked forward to.
We got a new summer outfit and we would wear that outfit regardless of the weather. We come back with goose bumps but we were determined to wear those new dresses and new shoes. It was a massive event.
We set off from Sunday School and walked to the bottom of Coach Lane, along Prudhoe Street, along Saville Street and then I think up Howard Street and into the square. The reason I remember Prudhoe Street is because I could see my older cousin and he was in the ATC and one particular year he was playing the big drum and I was so proud. That conjures up a vision of me on Prudhoe Street and the march being a little bit further on Saville Street and I could see him ahead.
We then all met in Northumberland Square and there was hundreds and hundreds coming from Sunday Schools all over the place. I can remember standing there and we would have church service and everybody joined in.
After that we would march back to our Sunday school but we would go a different route. I also remember stopping at the Methodist Church on Hawkeys Lane on occasion and getting an orange there, we were all given an orange at the end of the march. Whether that happened every year I’m not so sure.
The crowds used to come out to watch. My parents would come out and watch. I think the only adults in the march were Sunday school teachers, group leaders that sort of thing and the people from the church themselves. But our parents watched from the streets.
I loved Good Friday because we did the marching in the morning and then in the afternoon we went to the Spanish City and of course, the older I got, the more appealing the Spanish City was rather than the marching.
I remember there used to be odd shops open, but they would only open in the morning and it was confectioners, people like that, selling Easter eggs but then the streets became very, very quiet unless you were in Whitley Bay and the crowds moved to Whitley Bay because that was the first day of the year that the Spanish City opened.
Pam Sanders was interviewed as part of the Good Friday Marching project.