50 years ago this week: Friday, August 11, 1961

NORTH Sunderland Women’s Lifeboat Guild hit the jackpot again for the sixth year running with their annual fete on Monday.

They got fine weather, big crowds of visitors – more than 4,000 – and at the end of the day the cash tills rang up more than £1,200.

For Coxswain Tom Dawson the day brought a not-so-amusing incident - he “missed the boat”. It happened after Mr E. F. Collingwood, of Lilburn, near Wooler, had opened the fete from the deck of the North Sunderland lifeboat Grace Darling.

As the vessel was being pushed out on its trailer by a tractor it stuck so Coxswain Tom pulled up his waders and climbed from the lifeboat on to the trailer.

As he tugged at the connecting rope the lifeboat suddenly slid into the water, leaving him high and dry.

The lifeboat went on its way in the charge of second cox Mr Jimmy Walker.

Mr Collingwod, who was introduced by Sir Carnaby Haggerston, of Ellingham, descibed the lifeboat service as being “the most charactersitc of the English democratic institutions.”