Celebrating the Good Old Days

Bridlington the Good Old Days founder Helen Blackburn
Bridlington the Good Old Days founder Helen Blackburn

A FACEBOOK page set up to reminisce about days gone by in Bridlington has been hailed a huge success after more than 2,500 people signed up in its first five months.

Bridlington the Good Old Days, a page on social networking site Facebook, has attracted the members since October last year and encourages people to post pictures, as well as discuss the town’s past and present.

Bridlington the Good Old Days

Bridlington the Good Old Days

The page was set up by Helen Blackburn, 36, who had the idea of setting up the Good Old Days after she was invited to a similar page about Driffield’s past.

“It wasn’t my idea to begin with, but after I was invited by a friend to a Driffield page I thought it would be a good idea to start one about Bridlington and it really took off from there,” said Helen.

“It gives people a chance to have a look at old photographs of the town, or share their memories. Things have changed in the town, whether it be for good or bad, so it is a nice way for people to get together and reminisce.”

A quick look at the page reveals an online community engaged in a wide range of discussion, whether it be guessing at landmarks in the town from a cropped picture, sharing memories of forgotten Brid events and places, or even debating present day issues.

While lots of the photographs and debate do look backwards, Helen believes that the page is something that can last long into the future.

“I think when people look back at things they remember them more fondly than they might have done at the time. Sometimes there is that impression that things used to be better. Maybe people will look back at pictures from today and think of them just as fondly.”

As well as getting together online, up to 150 of the Good Old Days community got together to meet in person at the Greyhound pub on Promenade in January.

“That was a bit of a strange experience as I knew some of the faces from around the town but we had never been introduced, but it was really nice to think that we could get together over something like this.

“We had a quiz and Alan Whiting the landlord put on some food and a raffle, we raised about £600 for the Bridlington Lifeboat,” said former Hilderthorpe and Bridlington school pupil Helen.

“I even had a lady come into Christ Church where I work and say ‘Is it Helen?’

“She had recognised my profile picture from Facebook, even though it was a picture of me when I was only five-years-old. We didn’t know each other apart from that.”

Another event at the Greyhound is planned for July, where funds will again be raised for the Bridlington Lifeboat. It is hoped that the money can go towards buying replacement life jackets and other life-saving equipment for the crew.

But running the page hasn’t been all plain sailing, admitted Helen.

“I had to appoint four admins to help me run the page. 99 per cent of the things that are posted are fine but some things, swearing and other offensive posts, are removed.

“It’s not censorship but I can’t cope with some of the more unpleasant things.”

The Good Old Days page has already attracted members from as far afield as Canada and Australia, ex-pats who want to share their memories of the town that is special to them.

“I think that when people live away they enjoy reminiscing even more, it makes them feel closer to home,” said Helen.

“We’ve also managed to reunite old friends who might not have seen each other for years. Even though they both might already be on Facebook, they can’t always find each other but the page has helped people get back together.”

Angie Dee left Bridlington over 30 years ago, and although she only lives in Driffield she “lost contact with most of my old mates, thanks to the site I have now been brought back into the fold and reunited with more names than I can mention.”

Another group member, Mandy Johnston was able to reconnect with an old school friend, Annette Temple through the page.

She said: “It has been a long time for me as I moved away from Bridlington in 1989 to Florida where I live with my husband and two children.

“It has also let me see how much things have changed in the past 20 years, and also a lot of the members have posted some really neat old photos that helped me remember Brid when I grew up there.

“A lot of good memories have been brought to the surface and my kids get to see pictures of where their mum grew up. I check the posts two to three times a day just to see if there is anything new.

“It’s really a great thing and I am grateful to the person who came up with the idea.”

Another member, Alan Swales, said: “I have got back in contact with many friends after more than 30 years. Helen Blackburn who started the page has done a lot for the people of Brid in bringing old friends together.”

You can check out the page by searching for ‘Bridlington the Good Old Days’ on Facebook.