Sandy was born in North Shields. At the age of 16 he began his maritime training and went to sea at 18. He is Lifeboat Visits Officer for Cullercoats RNLI and a member of the Coble and Keelboat Society.
Sandy was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 9 December 2005. The interview took place at Discovery Museum People's Gallery and lasted 46 minutes and 7 seconds.
Chooky the rooster
"The man in Singapore, Mr Lee, came aboard with a cardboard box about two feet by two feet and he put it on my coffee table"
The man in Singapore, Mr Lee, came aboard with a cardboard box about two feet by two feet and he put it on my coffee table, looking a bit sheepish. And then, “what’s this?” “oh,” he said, “the owner is in Shanghai and she knows that you have extraordinary good luck so far and she wants to continue this good luck and she says you must place this on the bow like a figurehead to assuage the spirits, to continue to assuage the spirits.” And I opened the box and it was a cockerel. I’ve got a photograph of it which I’ll show you and she said, she had said what you have to do is mount this on the bow like a figurehead, there it is, that’s Chooky, he was about two feet tall and this was the Year of the Cockerel in Chinese, or Year of the Rooster I think they call it, and this would assuage the spirits, you see, and keep us out of trouble.
Well, by this time I was beginning to think Chinese myself and I thought, “Okay, got to keep a straight face, you mustn’t laugh.” I couldn’t imagine a British ship owner telling me something like that, could you? But we mounted it on the bow there, as you can see there and that night we sailed and we got into rough weather in the South China Sea because it can get very rough there, sometimes and we went into a storm and the next morning, Chooky had gone. We had stuck our nose into the sea and when it came up, there was no Chooky. And you know, I thought, “this is really like the end of the world,” because by this time I was starting to think along Chinese lines and what were the spirits going to say about this, you see. Chooky had gone, but fortunately the mate, the Indonesian mate Hasan Mariyar, ready for it, and he found that Chooky was underneath the windlass. He’d been hiding under there so we got him out and we fixed him up again and for the rest of the voyage we had perfect weather, we had no bad luck, no accidents at all. So there you are- that’s the Mystic East.
Sandy has 19 memories in the memorynet:
Sandy's memories with a Superstitions theme:
- Chooky the rooster
Sandy's other memories:
- Training school for the merchant navy
- Adjusting to life at sea
- Progress through the merchant navy
- A day at sea
- Taking the family to sea
- Ships in bottles
- The RNLI and the Coble and Keelboat Society
- The Doxford Song
- Continuous Certificate of Discharge
- Notebooks and diaries of flights and voyages
- Master's certificate
- The Panama Canal
- Loading cargo in Ghana
- Taking the family on ship
- Teaching knotting skills
- Chooky the Rooster
- The Golden Bear