MY home town is Middlesbrough and I am proud of it. It is not the prettiest town in the world being built on a history of mining, shipbuilding plus steel and chemical works. Like all towns there are parts that are somewhat unsavoury. Particularly towns where there are high rates of unemployment, poverty and social deprivation.
One of the biggest things about the town when I was growing up there in the 60s and 70s was the sense of community. When walking around town it was perfectly normal for my mother to say hello to people in the street, whether she knew them or not. Imagine how she was treated when she tried to do the same thing when she came to visit me when I lived in London. People were crossing over the road to avoid the mad woman.
In the last week or so I have seen something on the internet that shows me that the sense of community is still alive and kicking in Middlesbrough in the internet age.
Just over a week ago, Sue Martin, a 47-year-old from Middlebrough, set up a facebook page called Memories of Middlebrough. Within a week it has gained over 7,000 likes and large numbers of people are sharing written and photographic memories of the town. Both residents of the town and people like myself who moved away many years ago.
I posted a photo on there of our school football team in the early 70s. It prompted the web manager of the Olive Press to post a message telling me to pull my socks up. A very good way to trigger me into writing an article again for this site as I have been a bit lazy recently.
For me Memories of Middlebrough has given me a renewed pride in my place of birth. It has also given me a great opportunity to remember some lovely memories of the early part of my life.
Well done Sue Martin and well done to the extended community of Middlebrough. Let’s hope the football team can also give us something to smile about this season.