Ten Famous Northumbrians

by Gary Duncan

“Robson Green!” Andrea purred.

Collette cooed. “I do like Robson Green.”

Gina shook her head, so that was that.

“Alexander Armstrong!” Mark suggested.

Gina shook her head again, and got up. It had been a simple idea, or so she thought. A little book about famous Northumbrians. Ten Famous Northumbrians she was going to call it, but she only had seven.

She went over to the coffee machine and refilled her cup while the others squabbled.

Someone had suggested Kevin Whately, but Mark had never heard of Kevin Whately.

“Bloody hell, man,” Collette said. “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet?” She looked at Mark again in disbelief. “He was Neville. He-”

She stopped, shaking her head.

Gina sat down at the table again. Her head hurt: too much coffee or not enough coffee, she wasn’t sure.

“Right,” she said, checking her list. “This is what we’ve got so far. Our definites.”

She read the names out. Grace Darling. Capability Brown. Thomas Bewick. George Stephenson. Josephine Butler. Lord Armstrong. Earl Grey.

“Bobby Charlton!” Mark shouted. “Jackie Charlton! Bobby and Jackie Charlton!”

Gina made a face. She didn’t like football, but said she’d put them down as “maybes” for now.

“Plenty more where that came from,” Mark said. “Steve Bruce, Trevor Steven … that lad who used to play for Liverpool, left-back, Ray-”

Andrea coughed, cut him off mid-sentence.

“W.T. Stead,” she whispered.

Gina smiled, the first time that night.

“Who the hell’s W.T. Stead?” Mark asked.

“You’ve probably never heard of him,” Gina said. “He’s not a footballer.”

Gary Duncan is a freelance writer and editor based in Northumberland.

  1. #1 by linesofcommunication on October 14, 2013 - 7:26 am

    Nice indeed!

  2. #2 by John Ritchie on October 14, 2013 - 8:18 am

    I enjoyed this, I had to look up W.T.Stead, but can see why he should be afforded a place. Grace Darling. Capability Brown. Thomas Bewick. George Stephenson. Josephine Butler. Lord Armstrong. Earl Grey. A very impressive list by any standards. Well done, Duncan, for bringing these special people back into focus.

  3. #3 by Eric Nicholson on October 14, 2013 - 10:16 am

    Living in the North East, I enjoyed your piece, and of course knew all but W.T. Stead.

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