A PHOTOGRAPHER who captured the heyday of the North East jazz scene is to be commemorated with the first bench on one of the region’s famous open spaces.
Jim Perry, who died last March, aged 96, spent many evenings in the 1950s and 60s in Tyneside’s jazz clubs.
There, with his trusty Kodak, he photographed acts such as The EmCee Five, the River City Jazzmen and – when they were mere musical cubs – The Animals.
But as an antidote to his night life, Jim would walk his dogs every day on the Duke’s Moor, the green expanse across Grandstand Road from the Town Moor.
It was a short stroll from the Gosforth home he shared for more than 50 years with wife Margaret, who still lives there, and a succession of dogs they doted on.
And it was there that a man who once knew all the leading lights of the North East music scene made a new set of friends among the many daily dog-walkers on the moor.
A group of these, including fellow Gosforth residents and dog-walkers Heather Ging and Victor and Hellena Gallant, decided a bench on the Duke’s Moor would be a good way to celebrate Jim’s life.
Heather, a film producer, said: “Over all the years Jim lived in Gosforth he had dogs and he used to walk them on the moor every day, and more than once a day. He made a tremendous number of friends. He was a notable personality.
“Even when he couldn’t walk on the moor he’d sit on the seat outside the gate and chat to people as they arrived to walk their dogs. It was a very important part of his life.”
There is only one memorial bench on the whole of the Town Moor. It commemorates Albert Austin, former fairground manager of the Hoppings, who died three years ago at the age of 77.
A seat in memory of Jim Perry would be the first on the adjacent Duke’s Moor. Heather Ging said the Freemen of Newcastle, who own both moors, had approved the scheme.
“We have already got about £1,000 but we have to raise more because what is proposed is a very substantial bench. It’ll have to be very hard-wearing and we will also have to build a platform and hard standing. I think it will seat about four people and will have views of both the walks across the Duke’s Moor.”
The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Coun Jackie Slesenger, who represents the ward, is holding a reception this morning in aid of the Jim Perry Fund. It takes place at the Mansion House at 10am.