Memories brought to life in new book

Representatives of the project and invited guests at the launch event. Top Jackie Long (senior youth worker); Back row L-R: Mayor of Blyth John Potts, Gerry Evans, Deputy Mayor Kath Nisbet, Gordon Smith, Sharon Bailey; Middle row L-R: Gavin Slaughter, Kelly Russell, Lindsay Duncan, Sally Pilkington, Keighleigh Cozens; Front row L-R: Lucie Osborne, Kerry Hope, Donna Paine, Georgia Arrowsmith.
Representatives of the project and invited guests at the launch event. Top Jackie Long (senior youth worker); Back row L-R: Mayor of Blyth John Potts, Gerry Evans, Deputy Mayor Kath Nisbet, Gordon Smith, Sharon Bailey; Middle row L-R: Gavin Slaughter, Kelly Russell, Lindsay Duncan, Sally Pilkington, Keighleigh Cozens; Front row L-R: Lucie Osborne, Kerry Hope, Donna Paine, Georgia Arrowsmith.

Dozens of people attended a launch event at Blyth Comrades Club for a book looking back at youth activities in the area over the last 87 years.

Youth Clubs of Blyth: 1930s to 2017 is full of teenage memories of the fun and dramas that took place at the venues across the town over the years.

One of the interviews with an adult outside the Big M inflatable space.

One of the interviews with an adult outside the Big M inflatable space.

After receiving a grant of £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2016 to bring the history project to life, Silx Teen Bar commissioned ISIS Arts and a local over 50s forum to work in partnership with the organisation.

The money also enabled it to enlist the support of local historian Gordon Smith, pay for top-of-the-range recording equipment, hold workshops and stage an exhibition and produce a book.

Members of the public were invited to share their stories. In addition, the young people and others involved in the initiative carried out research and other activities – including visits to Woodhorn Museum to explore the archives and collecting old photos and stories.

In October 2016, a large inflatable space – Big M – descended on Blyth Marketplace.

The front cover of the book.

The front cover of the book.

It was used to screen and exhibit the pictures and stories that had been collected and gave the young people an opportunity to speak to more adult residents about their memories of youth clubs in Blyth when they were young.

The next 12 months were spent designing the book and putting together all of the stories and memories. This took a lot of time and effort from all involved in the project.

Silx commissioned Sally Pilkington from Morph Creative to turn the text and pictures into a glossy 210-page publication.

Those who went along to the launch event included Blyth Mayor John Potts and Deputy Mayor Kath Nisbet and people representing some of the youth organisation’s funders and partners.

It included a presentation by Gordon Smith, using photos, stories and memories that had been collected, and a buffet, and all those who attended received a copy of the book.

Residents can still get a free copy at Silx during opening hours, but they are advised not to leave it too long as numbers are down to the dozens. It will soon be available to read online via www.silxteen.com