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. Once in a while we will introduce you to one of the valuable volunteers that we have on board the North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project on this page.The ‘spotlight’ is on Keith Spedding.
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 has been 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. Going forward Keith will be responsible for ensuring the memorial is completed and delivered on time to its site on the foreshore at North Shields Fish Quay.