Ron Tatum contributes to dramatic Flash@Hebburn artwork
FORTY years ago next month, centre-half and skipper Ron Tatum helped inspire North Shields to a famous FA Amateur Cup final win at Wembley.
And Ron’s inspirational days are not over, for he is one of the contributors to a dramatic artwork which will on Saturday will be switched on to celebrate his home town of Hebburn in South Tyneside.
Flash@Hebburn at the town’s Riverside Park consists of 12 eight-metre high columns which will emit a series of programmed flashing light sequences by day and night.
Artist Charles Quick has been working on the £150,000 project for seven years.
It reflects the industrial past of Hebburn, with its mines, shipyards, giant Reyrolle electrical switchgear works, other factories and coke works.
The artwork was commissioned by South Tyneside Council with funding from Arts Council England North East.
Mr Quick said: “After talking to local people and doing research, one of the key words which emerged was light, which connects the industries.”
He held workshops which attracted 300 local people who offered ideas for how the light sequences would be programmed. Ron Tatum, who took part, was born in Hebburn and worked as a plater for 37 years at the town’s Hawthorn Leslie shipyard and at Swan Hunter’s in Wallsend.
He also played for North Shields for 12 years, with the highlight being the 2-1 victory over Sutton United at Wembley in April, 1969, in front of a crowd of more than 47,000.
Mr Tatum, now 65, who lives in Regent Road in Jarrow, suggested that the pattern of light from shipyard welders’ torches should be part of the Flash artwork.
He said: “Once I realised what was achievable with the technology, an image of bright lights from welding torches sprang to mind. Hebburn has been a town of industries of all kinds and the artwork is a good way of remembering that.” The columns are solar-powered and use the latest LED lighting and radio technology.
By day the 30-second light sequences will be triggered by sensors which sense the movement of people along the riverside path.
By night there will be a pre-set 15-minute sequence, and the installation can also be used to mark specific occasions, such as the New Year.
Mr Quick said: “Other key words which surfaced were innovation, regeneration and celebration.
“With all the industries, Hebburn people have been quite used to innovation. In terms of regeneration, the town has seen huge changes and celebrations marked the launch of ships.
“The modern technology of the artwork also looks to Hebburn’s future.”