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Memories of South Tyneside Resident Live on in Town Hall

A portrait of a well-known South Shields resident has been donated to South Tyneside Council.

A framed photograph of Robert Pow Fernandes, known locally as Bob Fernandes, was given to South Shields Town Hall last week to pay tribute to his contribution to the Borough.

Robert worked as a reporter on the Shields Gazette for his entire working life which amounted to over 50 years. He was renowned for his column 'Odd Man Out' where he discussed everyday events taking place in the town and the many characters that gave it its energy.

The former chief reporter, who once lived at Osborne Avenue in South Shields, was so well-loved within the community that he was awarded Freedom of the Borough in 1948. This is awarded to people and organisations who have provided outstanding services.

As well as the portrait, the Freeman's casket and document granting him Freedom of the Borough were also donated to the Town Hall.

Robert's grandson, David Smart, is devoted to this grandfather's memory and to South Shields - which he regards as his hometown - and wanted his legacy to live on.

David often visits South Shields to reminisce about his childhood and during his most recent trip, he visited the Mayor, Councillor Norman Dick, to discuss his grandfather's story, hand over the memorabilia and take a tour of South Shields Town Hall.

The Mayor said: "Freedom of the Borough is the highest award that we can give and is an honour bestowed on few people.

"I accept this donation from Mr Smart with great pleasure and it's lovely to see how proud he is of his grandfather's past.

"Robert Fernandes was clearly an integral part of the community when he lived and worked in South Tyneside and was remembered by journalists throughout the country as the oldest working reporter.

"I personally host many tours year-round and I am thrilled to tell Robert's story to visitors to South Tyneside and to be able to display memories of him in the Town Hall."

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