WOR BELLA SUPPORTERS
From one Geordie to another
AC/DC's Brian Johnson, a Dunston-born lad (the same as Harry Clasper) and keen historian, sent a message of support to Ed.
"I can’t wait to read the Geordie Plays. I think it's important that we remember these great characters. My personal favourite name is Hadaway Harry. "
"While the songs Joe Wilson wrote are still loved by us older Geordies today, I hope the young can learn from these past Tyneside heroes of music, comedy and sport and carry on our proud traditions."
"Many congratulations on the book and much success."
And on WOR BELLA...
"What a story! It's a shame more people haven’t heard of this wonderful woman. I wish you all the success with the show. Long may it run. Bella Forever!"
Learning Lessons of Our History
By Lynn Gibson, Co-Founder, Women's Banner Group
The Women's Banner Group (WBG) was founded in November 2017 to gain recognition for the women of the Durham Coalfield that history has forgotten.
We campaign at both the Durham Miners' Gala and beyond.
The WBG stands up for women's rights, human rights, dignity at work, period dignity, the right to choose, body autonomy, body neutrality, LGBTQI+ rights, refugees and asylum seekers. We also stand against intolerance in all its forms: racism, homophobia, sexism, ageism, misogyny, greedy capitalism and selfishness.
The WBG believes in educating young people in debate and that their voices matter, and that they should be seen and heard, that all people should be encouraged to learn their own history and learn lessons from that. We firmly believe women's histories should not only be remembered but taught and recorded. This and so much more. We don't just make banners!
Wor Bella appeals to the WBG because one of our founding reasons was to gain recognition for the historically important women of the Durham Coalfield whom history has forgotten.
Sadly, we are becoming more and more aware of just how much working-class women’s achievements have been missed out of recorded history.
The way the heroic munitionettes were treated was shocking: from playing football to crowds of tens of thousands during WW1 (the 1918 final in Middlesbrough attracted over 22,000 spectators) to an FA-initiated ban in 1921 that disallowed women's football games from taking place on the grounds used by its member clubs. That ban remained in effect until July 1971.
We are delighted Ed has written a play about this and that the incredible efforts of the millions of women who stepped into male roles in the munitions factory during WWI and played football to crowds of thousands (to raise money for wartime charities) is being remembered.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Women's Banner Group, please view the Facebook page.
Tony Platten, Chairman of Blyth Spartans AFC
The Wor Bella team would like to thank Blyth Spartans AFC chairman Tony Platten for his personal, tremendous support for the project.
In addition to his financial commitment, Tony has been enthusiastically on board from the first time we mentioned the potential play in 2019.
Tony has selflessly offered rehearsal facilities and marketing provisions. In addition to ensuring our printed materials have been distributed among Blyth Spartans AFC supporters, Tony has personally placed two large vinyl "Wor Bella" banners in Croft Park, and wherever possible has encouraged people to attend the play.
Alnwick's new theatre boss nails colours to the mast
Damian Cruden, the new Artistic Director and CEO of Alnwick Playhouse, has made a statement about his love of theatre and local stories by endorsing Wor Bella.
Who is David Haldane?
Well, we'll let David tell you himself.
"At nine years old I had my first bit of luck. I contracted scarlet fever and was confined to bed for several weeks. It was then that I discovered cartoons; a family friend was a merchant seaman and he provided me with piles of “Funnies".
These were the comic sections of American newspapers he brought from overseas and they introduced me to the cartoon characters Popeye, Krazy Kat and Nancy.
As I grew older, the cartoon bug never left me. I was inspired by the great cartoonists in newspapers and magazines including Punch which was the most celebrated.
It soon became a goal to have one of my own cartoons accepted for publication. After much rejection (something freelance cartoonists have to put up with almost on a weekly basis) my first cartoon was published in January 1978.
Thus began a long and fruitful association with Punch magazine which lasted until its closure in 1992.
In a career spanning over thirty years, my work has appeared in books, national newspapers, satirical publications (Private Eye and The Spectator) advertising campaigns and on television in Spitting Image.
Until recently, I was the daily pocket cartoonist for The Times, often featuring on the front page.
As well as continuing with topical work, I now produce several ranges of greeting cards.
My recovery from scarlet fever all those years ago was down to penicillin. Without antibiotics I wouldn’t have survived so, you could say Sir Alexander Fleming was instrumental in kick-starting my career. History remembers Sir Alexander Fleming. Surely the likes of Bella Reay,
Blyth Spartans Ladies and the Munitionettes should likewise be remembered."