Ed’s talk on Harry Clasper has been organised by the South Shields Local History Group and will take place at Cleadon Park Library, 10 Prince Edward Rd, South Shields (NE34 8PS), on Monday, January 16, at 5.30pm. All welcome.

 South Shields playwright Ed Waugh will be giving a talk on Monday, January 16, about his show Hadaway Harry, which features the world renowned Geordie rower Harry Clasper, arguably the greatest-ever North East sportsman.

 In addition to being a world rowing champion eight times, Tyneside born and bred Harry designed the boats used in today’s Olympics and Oxbridge boat race and trained fellow world champions, including Walker-based Robert Chambers.

 Harry was born in Dunston in 1812 but the family moved to Jarrow four years later. In his teens Harry became an apprentice carpenter at Brown’s shipyard (later Palmer’s) before going down Jarrow pit. It was in Jarrow that Harry learnt to row and mastered the basics of boatbuilding.

 From leading his team of brothers to their first world title on the Thames in 1845, Harry became a local, national and international star and Tyneside rowers and boatbuilders were to dominate the sport for the next 25 years.

 Prior to football, rowing was the sport of the working class. The Geordie anthem The Blaydon Races was written for Harry and, when he died in 1870 aged only 58, 130,000 people packed the streets of Newcastle to pay their final respects.

 Before transferring to Newcastle’s 1200-seat Theatre Royal for three performances on Friday and Saturday, February 24 and 25, Hadaway Harry, will have an out-of-town run at the prestigious Putney Rowing Club, London (February 17 and 18), on the banks of the Thames, near the starting line of Harry’s many historical victories.