Sting recalls growing up in Wallsend ahead of Sage Gateshead shows...

April 23, 2015

Rock star Sting remininced today about growing up in the shadows of the Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend. The singer has arrived home on Tyneside to this weekend perform songs from The Last Ship to benefit the Sage Gateshead’s 10th Birthday Appeal. These will be the only UK performances of their kind and are supported by Cunard in the shipping company’s 175th anniversary year. Sting is also joining children from 18 schools from across Tyneside have been rehearsing for a very special event which will see them sing alongside the composer, singer-songwriter and actor at a schools-only afternoon event at the Sage ahead of the concerts. “Cunard is one of the most famous names in shipping and a lot of very notable ships were built on Tyneside - Mauretania and Carpathia, to name but two. There’s a great lineage,” said Sting. “I was born and raised in Wallsend in the shadow of the Swan Hunter shipyard. My earliest memories are of ships being built and launched into the river. “With The Last Ship, I thought I would try and honour the community that I came from because everyone around me worked in the Swan Hunter shipyard, including my grandfather and all his brothers. “My family has had things to do with the sea for many years. Cunard are backing the concert that we are doing with the Sage in Gateshead. It’s a benefit for the Sage. It’s only right and fitting to take this story back in some form to the people who inspired it. I’m happy to bring these songs and stories home.” Cunard has historic links to the shipyards of the Tyne and a proud heritage with the North East, as our pictures show. In fact its Mauretania even had the blessing of the American president Franklyn D. Roosevelt. The partnership saw 15 ships, including ones that became the stuff of legend, being built at Swan Hunter on the Tyne for Cunard and last October Sting performed songs from The Last Ship on board Cunard’s flagship, Queen Mary 2, in New York. Inspired by and set in Sting’s hometown of Wallsend, The Last Ship is an epic tale of hard working men and women, battling against the odds to maintain their way of life and their livelihood. It uses the story of those working in shipyards along the Tyne to tell a tale that has roots in the North East but resonates the world over. David Dingle, Chairman of Cunard, said: “We’re delighted that in 2015, Cunard’s 175th anniversary year, we will be able to commemorate that two of our most famous ships were created on the Tyne, through this show. “The Last Ship has songs that go to the heart of this country’s shipbuilding industries, and reflect Cunard’s own proud heritage with the North East. This great partnership saw legendary liners like Mauretania and Carpathia built at Swan Hunter on the Tyne and then serve Cunard for many years”. (c) The Chronicle by Gordon Barr



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