Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Days of the West End Boys

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Days of the West End Boys

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ray Marshall

Here DAVE DIXON, 60, from West Denton, Newcastle, recalls the heyday of West End Boys' Club

I WAS sad to read of the possible demise of West End Youth & Community Centre, known as Dockray House, Newcastle.

Many people will remember it best as West End Boys' Club.

David Dockray started the club in the 1940s in the garage of his Fenham home to help his son Denis and friends as they had nowhere to go. The club grew and acquired land in Sutherland Avenue, the site of an old mine complete with pit shaft and small heap. The lads tipped the heap down the shaft and wooden buildings were erected.

West End had a fine football tradition and was a leader in engineering skills. Miniature steam engines were built and later a superb slot car racing track. In the 70s, boxing became another important activity.

On the arts side, there was a dressmaking club ( it wasn't just a boys' club ( and I was a member of the cine film section, which led to me spending my entire working life in TV.

In the mid-60s the new modern clubhouse was constructed, and this opened the way for the main thing that thousands of people will remember ( discos. Dancing was on four or five nights a week with all the top groups on the club circuit appearing on Saturdays. The age range was from about 14 up to 21, in an age when teenagers didn't need to get drunk all the time to have a great night out.

Through all these days Mr Dockray steered a steady course, combining old-fashioned values with a sharp eye to modern times, a fine example to us all and still fondly remembered by so many.

I know little of the problems of the current club or its management, but within those walls will be the spirit of Mr Dockray and his never-say-die attitude and I hope that a way can be found to help keep this fine example of what can be achieved by ordinary people.

I first joined in around 1962 when a friend informed me that Mr Dockray was looking to start a cine club section. I was there like a shot, having been keen on photography for some years and wanting to shoot films, but I didn't have the money for the equipment. …

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