Pickering and Ferens Homes has been taking part in the Freedom to Tell Tales workshops, a year-round initiative devised by writer Rupert Creed to develop the community’s art of storytelling as part of Hull’s Freedom Festival.
The sessions are giving our residents the opportunity to share their experiences of the city’s great fishing heritage – and the results have been fascinating, sometimes humorous and often very moving.
The start of the sessions coincided with a touring theatre production called Get Up and Tie Your Fingers at Hull Truck Theatre in June.
Get Up and Tie Your Fingers is part of Follow the Herring, a unique national touring project that combines theatre and visual arts in an atmospheric and compelling journey down the east coast of the UK.
“Every resident who took part in one of the six workshops at Pickering and Ferens Homes contributed something really valuable,” said Mr Creed.
“I was keen to run the story sharing sessions for Hull’s older generation, as this offered the promise of some great stories – and the residents of Pickering and Ferens Homes certainly didn’t disappoint.”
Rene Pullen, a resident at Christopher Pickering Lodge, in Hessle High Road, west Hull, has personal links with a number of Hull trawlers – she was pleased to share her memories with Rupert.
Born in 1928, she experienced tragedy for the first time in 1955 when her brother was lost on the Lorella – he was just 22 years old.
Her husband, who was a spare hand on trawler ships, was taken ill during an oil exploration voyage in 1984 and sadly passed away before his return.
“I’ve never been involved in anything like this before, but I’m so glad to have taken part in the story sharing session,” Rene commented. “It was really moving at times and each story rang a bell with everyone in the room – we’d all been there.” Terry Smith, also of Christopher Pickering Lodge, was able to describe the conditions on the Kingston Perridot – one of the ships involved in the 1968 triple trawler tragedy.
He was just 15 when the ship was put ashore in Norway. The last time he sailed on the ship was just before it went down. Sailing in the Fjords involved chopping through the ice, literally.
Mr Creed added: “I uncovered many other residents who have personal links with the triple trawler tragedy and they were able to speak with great authority, giving me detailed accounts of their families’ experiences.
The sessions have provided me with some rich material for the Freedom to Tell Tales project. They also served as a valuable outreach exercise.”
Paula Kelly, Director of Housing Services, said: “We welcome opportunities for our residents to take part in a range of activities which are stimulating and sociable. The story sharing sessions succeeded on both counts.
“Everyone involved was moved by the depth of detail and emotion in the stories shared. They were often very humorous too, and pictures taken during the sessions capture this very clearly. I would like to thank Rupert Creed for enabling our residents to take part and I look forward to seeing the results.”