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WW2 exhibits bring back memories for veteran Jimmy

BySam Schofield

Oct 12, 2018

A SECOND World War Merchant Navy veteran took a walk down memory lane when he visited South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Jimmy Mahoney, 95, was visiting the museum with fellow residents from Willowdene Care Home, in Hebburn, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

After entering an exhibit of a kitchen and sleeping quarters for crewmen during the War, he recalled memories from his time in the Merchant Navy.

He left school at 14 and joined as a cabin boy, prior to the start of the Second World War, and eventually worked his up to deck hand.

When asked by a member of the care home staff if the sleeping quarters were comfortable, Jimmy said: “It didn’t matter. You were so tired you just wanted to go to sleep.”

More than a dozen residents, staff and family members from Willowdene Care Home also enjoyed the museum, which celebrates the heritage of South Tyneside.

Alongside the War era exhibits, they also saw the latest attraction, works from Scottish painter Dame Ethel Walker, featuring a portrait of Dame Flora Robson, a South Shields stage and screen actor.

The care home’s deputy manager and nurse, Cheryl Kennedy, also entertained residents when she tried on a vintage nurse uniform from the First World War.

Christine Chandler, activities coordinator at Willowdene Care Home, on Victoria Road West, said: “One of our residents, Harry West, doesn’t say a lot these days but the smiles of recognition and joy were wonderful to see.

“When we got back the residents were so happy and kept saying how much they enjoyed the visit.”

After the museum visit, the care home group stopped off at Frydays Fish Bar and Grill, on Smithy Street, South Shields.

Christine added: “The staff were so lovely and welcoming. They made it a brilliant end to a lovely day out.”