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Marching as a Family

My grandma always bought the oranges


I started very young because my mum marched all her life and she’d been the Brown Owl for Howard Street Baptist Brownies. It’s just always been something that we did on a Good Friday.

Good Friday Marching 1972

Easter Parade, Good Friday, 31st March 1972. North Shields

The route seemed to go on forever when you were quite young. There was always a service at the Square which lasted approximately 20 minutes, but that seemed to take about an hour, especially if it was raining and cold. And then, you’d come out the Square and go along Preston Avenue (Road), back down Hawkey’s Lane and back round.  We ended up at the Memorial Methodist Church where everybody would go off to various churches. Some adults would go to Howard Street, some would go at the Square Press and have services, but all the children went to the Memorial Methodist Church.  I remember being in the Memorial Methodist Church and it was a very beautiful church inside.

And of course, one of the really important things about Good Friday was, it was the day that you wore a summer dress for the first time and even if it was Baltic, you’d still be in your summer dress and your new sandals and your white ankle socks, and everybody looked very pretty.

I marched with my own daughter; she was born on the 10th of April 2003. She was born on the Thursday and the following week it was Good Friday. We went to the Square Press, and they had a really, really loud rock band and there was me with my little baby and so, yeah, it is something we did.

My grandma always bought the oranges that were given out afterwards. Then, as a family, we would always go out for a proper sort of Sunday tea with cake on Good Friday. We still were doing that up until latterly despite being twenty-eight of us and it was quite hard to find places ’cause afternoon tea went completely out of fashion.

I was always told Easter was one of the most important times of the year, being brought up in the Baptist Church and it was something that I loved.

I went to university and then I moved to London, but I’d still come up at Easter and still march so it’s gone on, but the route’s got shorter and shorter.

(Did you ever march with the Brownies?)

Yeah, Brownies, Guides and I would normally have been with my cousin Beverly and Glenn my brother.

Latterly the Presbyterian Church have what’s called a messy church and that’s been really popular over recent years. The young children make all sorts of things, they do the Garden of Gethsemane and the rolling away of the stone and make flower bouquets and all sort of Eastery things after the marching. My daughter really loved that, and I’ve probably still got bits that she made.

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