Community centre marks half-century
A much-loved community centre has notched up 50 years of holding events and activities for local residents from its base in New King Street.
The Percy Community Centre celebrated the anniversary on Friday, with people able to join in the celebrations with music and performances.
But its origins go back even further as it was originally founded in 1947 and known as the Percy Boys Club, with activities taking place in Charlotte Street.
One of the club's founder members, local councillor Colin Barrett, was on hand to help with the celebrations and said it was good to see the community space still popular.
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He said the club had its roots in Percy Chapel in Charlotte Street and the leader was know as Plum because his surname was Plumbridge.
"It was just after the war and kids weren't innocents by any means but at the same time, there was a great community spirit.
"A lot of the kids came from Kingsmead flats and are still around today."
He recalls being taught boxing by Len Bally and playing table tennis.
"We also used to have dances with a girls' club. It sounds a bit staid today but we would have ballroom dances and rock and roll dances."
The boys' motto was Aim for the Highest, with the emblem of an archer on its badge.
The club was even paid a visit by singer Frankie Vaughan in the '50s but on Friday it fell to the club's Rainbow Steel Band, Waves of Fury and the Colin Anthony Combo to provide the music.
Centre manager Adam Pitt said the celebrations had gone well.
"We had a children's party and lots of kids' activities. It was a free event open to everybody. We had lots of Percy Old Boys' members who came along with photographs and memorabilia."
The event was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the centre is now building up an archive of the history of the centre and would like to hear from anybody who can bring in more memorabilia.
Mr Pitt added: "We have something like 400 visitors a week and the focus is much broader now. It isn't a boys' club – it is for the whole community and all age groups, and has lots of different activities.
"We are a very relevant and well-used facility open seven days a week until 10 o'clock every night."
The centre can be contacted on 01225 423014.