Last Sunday (8th November 2015) I was invited to attend and represent the Tyne Area Shipping Club at a reunion evening with members of the ex. Tyne Dock Engineering personnel and others at the Alum Ale House South Shields.
Special guest for the evening was Janis Blower along with husband Brian.
Janis had recently retired from her work at the Shields Gazette, where she had worked for the past 44 years. She is very well known in the North East for her work with this newspaper (that is the Oldest Provincial Evening Newspaper in the country.)
Janis has great knowledge of the regions local and social history particularly relating to shipping and shipbuilding; the lifeboat service and coalmining – all industries that made this area world famous. The sea has figured strongly in her life, with her father Harry and husband Brian both seafaring for many years. She worked alongside the late John Landells, who was the newspapers Shipping
Correspondent – his weekly feature column ‘On the Waterfront’ was really popular with readers. John was an early member of the Tyne Area Shipping Club and for many years would present his ‘New Year’s Lecture’ to the club.
Janis Blower’s time reporting for the newspaper besides making many friends in the community with her talent for producing tremendously interesting articles – and for which has been the recipient of some prestigious journalism awards. Many of her articles would develop from photographs and letters from readers – Janis would use her knowledge to research these further with excellent results. Probably one weekly feature column Janis will be particularly remembered for was her ‘Cookson Country’ this proved to be a ‘real hit’ with readers of all ages. It is interesting to note, That Janis started work at the Gazette two years before the Tyne Area Shipping Club was founded. The club is thankful to Janis for some very interesting presentations she has given to the club over the years.
It was a super evening. A presentation was made to Janis to mark the occasion.
We all wish Janis and Brian a Happy and Healthy retirement and look forward ‘hopefully’ to receiving a story or two from her to publish in our website.
Keith Atkinson Chair/Webmaster