Tyne & Wear

Blaydon Races anthem rewritten for 150th anniversary

The Blaydon Races, William Irving, Shipley Art Gallery. Photo: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Image caption Written in 1862 the original Blaydon Races song tells the story of a mad-cap journey to this highlight of the Tyneside calendar

A new version of the classic Geordie anthem The Blaydon Races has been written by people from across the north-east of England.

Walker-born singer-songwriter Pete Scott appealed for help to rewrite the six verses of the song to celebrate its 150th anniversary on Saturday.

Mr Scott said the ideas he received were "fantastic".

Written by George Ridley, the original song tells the story of a mad-cap journey to the event on 9 June, 1862.

The Blaydon Races originally consisted of a horse race and fair.

Since 1981, a road race has also been run from Balmbra's pub in Newcastle's Cloth Market to Blaydon, following the route of the famous song.

Mr Scott worked on the project with BBC Newcastle by asking listeners to send in their ideas.

He said he had "no desire" to replace the song, but wanted the new lyrics to reflect the "spirit of the times".

"It was great seeing all the contributions being sent in," Mr Scott said.

"Some of their ideas were fantastic, there was just such great enthusiasm."

'A legendary song'

Mr Scott said he wanted to rewrite the song so that, in the future, it would show people what the area was like at the time, just like the original song did.

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Media captionWalker-born singer-songwriter Pete Scott appealed for help to rewrite the six verses

The tune and the chorus of the song have been kept the same, but the verses have been brought up to date with more recent roads and landmarks added.

Mr Scott said: "It was great looking at the original route and the route now through their [the listeners'] eyes.

"The challenge was to get it all to rhyme and fit together - I was up to my eyes in bits of paper."

County Durham-born opera singer Graeme Danby will sing the final composition of the song on Saturday at 14:00 BST at Newcastle's Monument, as part of Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council's celebrations.

Mr Scott said: "I was really honoured to be asked to do it. I'm really happy with the way it's turned out - I love the track.

"I am really pleased to have contributed to such a legendary song."

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