Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Estate Tarred by One Night of Madness

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Estate Tarred by One Night of Madness

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Proctor Reporter kate.proctor@ncjmedia.co.uk

SCREAMS from a family who witnessed rioters torching their home stuck in one woman's mind for years.

As shops were looted, cars burnt out and possessions smashed on to the pavement, Dianne Heslop's late mum Shirley feared for her life and could never forget the sounds of her neighbours in distress.

Today community champion Dianne reflects on The Meadow Well Riots which took place in 1991 in North Shields as part of the Chronicle's Stories that shocked Tyneside series.

Yet she and dozens of other residents who have huge pride in their estate and work tirelessly to improve its reputation and move on from its one 'night of madness.'.

"My mum Shirley said she came out of her house and could hear the screams from the fish shop run by an Indian family. She said to me 'I'll never forget those screams for as long as I live.'.

"It was bad. They set fire to the youth club. There was a tree at each end of the road to stop the cars coming down. It was people coming from all over, not just people who lived on the estate.

"I was on the phone to my mum when the phone went dead, the electrics had been cut off and I called my husband at the time immediately and told him to go and get her out of there," said Dianne.

Shirley, who had brought up her two daughters Dianne and the late Lynn at Avon Avenue since the 1970s, was unharmed during the riots but spent a night huddled with her daughters not knowing whether she would have a home to go back to.

"It was awful for my mum. It really affected her to think something like that could happen on your doorstep," said the mother-of-two who now runs a community Facebook group about the estate with thousands of followers.

She also volunteers with the Meadow Well Connected centre and is keen to celebrate the estate's rich history and community spirit. …

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