We were sad to hear that our friend, Dave Hunt, had died on the 10th of June 2020. He was a dedicated member of the Newcastle upon Tyne Motor Boat Club for 56 years. The Motor Boat Club is based in Ouseburn, so Dave was witness to many changes in the area. Representing the Club on the River Users Group, it was always a pleasure to see Dave and work with him on solutions and improvements.

Modern photograph of Dave Hunt and other Newcastle Motor Boat Club members

We were honoured that he gave his time recently to share his memories and photos of the Boat Club with our Heritage Research Volunteer, Alistair Collin. When Dave brought his photo album into the Ouseburn Trust office, we all crowded round to exclaim over the past moments and views captured in the pictures. These have now been added to our photo archive.

Memories of the Ouseburn's Motor Boat Club

This is an extract from the Boat Club heritage research article. 

One of the longest-serving members and the current Treasurer of the Boat Club is David Hunt. David has been a member for 56 years having joined in his late teens in the late 1960s and has carried out all of the different roles of office at the club. David’s interest in boating was encouraged by his uncle, William Brookes, who was a member, and past Commodore who joined in the 1950s.

Initially, David’s interest was to use boats to go fishing off the mouth of the Tyne but he quickly became more interested in the different club activities and together they bought a boat soon after David joined. Along with many of the older club members, David has seen many changes over the years.

“When I joined it was in a different era. The post-war generation of “make-do and mend” was everywhere. The membership had the practical skills as the northeast was alive with traditional industries and the new technologies that we know today didn’t exist. It was a simpler time but no less enjoyable – the assumption that technology has made people enjoy themselves more is a bit lost on our generation.

“The club has changed over the years as you’d imagine but the camaraderie and bonds that exist amongst the members and their families remains as strong as ever. There is a demand on members in terms of time to carry out repairs and maintenance but the benefits we think outweigh this. The benefits of membership extend to everyone in their family and as such, it is very cost-effective. When the club was initially set up the real costs associated with membership were probably a bit higher than they seem to be today. However, with money seemingly tight again the cost of club membership is very small for the level of fun and enjoyment that you get in my opinion. Once people join the club and remain for a couple of years they tend to stay for life.

Photograph of Dave Hunt and his friend holding up a fish they caught

“After many years of being moved around the area, we are back at the clubhouse on Lime Street. It is a great location for boating and social centre and we hope to be here for many years to come. We are considering where the long term future of the club is going which is similar to pretty well every other club like us. Technology, the expectation that people need to work harder and longer and less money being available are all real challenges to individuals joining the Motor Club. That said the benefits of having a boat when your whole family can enjoy it with friends shouldn’t be underestimated. Joining the club has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I hope that many more people will join and enjoy it as much as I have.”

Read the full research piece