Without volunteers we wouldn’t have raised the £75,000+ needed for the memorial to Fishermen lost at sea from the Port of North Shields. We have a wide variety of volunteers – community fundraisers, running Our on-line shop, education presenters for schools, helping at events, writing newsletters, researching the lives lost at sea and much more.
Keith Spedding – Fundraiser & Project Leader
Keith was born in North Shields and lives there still. Keith retired about two years ago as Centre Manager for StepChange Debt Charity, the largest free debt advice charity in the UK. Their Newcastle office is the biggest in the country with around 100 staff all dedicated to helping people with debt problems. Prior to this, Keith ran his own business in Management Development Training, and before that was a Business to Business Relationship Manager for the Kingfisher Group.
Keith’s links to North Shields Fish Quay are very strong and go back a long way. His grandfather, Jimmy Levett, had a fish filleting business on the Quay before WW2, as well as a small cafe.
Keith’s father Jimmy worked at Richard Irvin’s as a bookkeeper and his brother Ken and Uncle Bill both worked at Tyne Brand – another Uncle (Jim) drove for Rutherford’s who were also based on the fish quay.
Keith himself worked as a trainee Marine Engineer for Billy Hunter, whose premises are still located at the bottom of Tanners Bank. This burgeoning career was cut short however, when he got seasick on a fishing boat tied up in The Gut! To be fair he was inside the fuel tank trying to clear a blockage at the time!
Keith’s main role in the group was to raise funds by establishing strong relationships with key stakeholders e.g. North Tyneside Council, local, national and international businesses as well as local community groups and schools. Another area of responsibility was the preparation and submission of Funding Bids to local and national Charitable Trusts and Foundations – he has had success in this area with The R W Mann Trust, (who have supported us with funds on two occasions), The Sir James Knott Trust and The Hadrian Trust. Keith was also responsible, in conjunction with North Tyneside ouncil, for ensuring the memorial was completed and delivered on time to its site on the foreshore at North Shields Fish Quay.
Charlie Steel – Administrator
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Charlie has lived almost all of his life in Monkseaton, however nearly all his working life has been spent in North Shields. After leaving school in 1967, he entered the printing trade as a Graphic Artist and Process Photographer. After 8 years, he decided it was time to move on, and he joined Northumbria Police in 1975, before his retirement in 2005. During this time he developed a strong interest in local history which stems from his Great Grandfather, George Steel, who was a prominent businessman in Whitley Bay at the turn of the 1900’s.
Over the years, Charlie has presented various talks to local schools and professional organisations, written several local history articles for the ‘Northumbrian’ magazine, and writes a monthly editorial for the ‘Roundabout Tynemouth’ and ‘Roundabout Monkseaton’ magazines. He has also compiled several columns and editorials for the Journal and Chronicle newspapers and written several local history publications and books. Charlie recognises the importance of preserving our past heritage and memories in every possible way, and shares a considerable passion to recognise the importance of the fishermen of North Shields past and present.