Our River Stories: Barbara Roper

Our River Stories: My grandad, Peter Mackin, was born in 1878 and was a shipyard labourer in Hebburn, Wallsend and Blyth. Despite working long and exhausting hours in the shipyard he found time to become a well known local football player.

He began playing for Hebburn Argyle about 1899 and was bought by Sunderland for £75, where he played in the A team for 2 seasons.He earned £3 a week, got £1 bonus for a win, and 10s for a draw!”

“He went on to play for Wallsend Villa, Bedlington United Terriers,Willington Athletic, Ashington, Newburn and most famously at Blyth Spartans. Then he captained Bedlington and Blyth and won the Tynemouth Infirmary Cup in 3 successive seasons 1909-1911.

He played and scored against Newcastle United Reserves in the opening match at Croft Park on September 1st 1909. Lord Ridley kicked off the match as did his great, great grandson 100 years later when my dad was a guest of honour”.
In the Spartans’ team photo, Peter is is kneeling in the centre of the front row.

“The Morpeth Herald 18th May 1917 reported: ‘Official news has been received at Blyth that Peter Mackin of Tyneside Irish has been killed in action at Vimy Ridge. Private Mackin was for several years the doyen of local football followers.’

In September 1917 a benefit match between Wallsend Shipyard and Blyth Munitions girls teams was played to raise funds for his widow and their 5 children, the youngest being my dad born 4 months after Peter’s death”.


What an amazing story, Barbara! Thanks so much for sharing!

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