Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Holiday Fun That Ended in Hospital; Mark's Misdemeanour

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Holiday Fun That Ended in Hospital; Mark's Misdemeanour

Article excerpt

THE temptations of when we were young - it seemed no matter how often we were told not to do something or not to go somewhere, temptation often got the better of us. But back in those days our world away from the home was largely, if not totally, unsupervised by adults. So we might know that we would get into trouble, and serious trouble at that, if we were caught but how would our parents ever know? Such boyhood reasoning was very much in the forefront of seven-year-old Mark Farrell's mind when he went out to play with his friend Malcolm Sheen in the summer holidays of 1966 in Grangetown.

Mark lived with his seven brothers and sisters and his mam and dad at 101 Stapylton Street, a street which no longer exists. The road is still there but all you will find now are rows of anonymous commercial buildings, not the community of terraced housing there once was.

The 1960s saw an enormous and radical change for much of the housing in the Teesside area, some for the better and some debatably not so. But all this demolition created what appeared to a seven-year-old lad such as Mark a vast and almost limitless adventure playground. This was especially true of nearby Vaughan Street, which had been vacated by its residents leaving rows of empty houses for Mark and his friends to play around. The only fly in this ointment was that Mark's mam had told him repeatedly not to go into the houses because it was dangerous, but what do mams know? And if Mark did play there how would she ever know anyway? So one sunny morning in August 1966 Mark and Malcolm set off for Vaughan Street and entered the abandoned houses. There were other kids also having a smashing time. What greater fun could there be than to smash things up without anybody really caring that you did? Also playing around the houses in Vaughan Street was Mark's eight-yearold elder sister Margaret with her friend Pauline Smith. The two lasses heard Mark and Malcolm playing about upstairs in one of the houses and thought they would play a trick on them. There was only one way upstairs and there was still a door at the bottom of the staircase. The two mischievous girls decided it would be really funny if they jammed an old sofa that happened to be lying around up against the door trapping the two lads upstairs. …

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