`Geordie' president wowed the crowds.Byline: By Jane Hall
As George W Bush prepares to head to the North-East, Jane Hall looks back at the region's last presidential visit 26 years ago.
The face familiar to billions around the world but which had hitherto only been seen on television and in newspapers, broke into its familiar toothy grin.
"Ha'way the lads". The 20,000 strong crowd gathered outside Newcastle Civic Centre Newcastle Civic Centre is a civic centre located in the Haymarket area of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It is the main administrative and ceremonial centre for Newcastle City Council. that bright May morning in 1977 broke into rapturous rap·tur·ous
Filled with great joy or rapture; ecstatic.
raptur·ous·ly adv. cheering. The most powerful man in the West could not have chosen a better way of announcing his arrival in the region.
Jimmy Carter had chosen to come to the North-East as part of his first overseas visit since taking office. And while his whistlestop tour may only have lasted four hours, young and old alike showed how they felt about the decision.
They packed Newcastle Airport This article is about the airport in England, for other airports with this name, see Newcastle Airport (disambiguation).
Newcastle Airport (IATA: NCL, ICAO: EGNT) is the tenth largest airport in the United Kingdom. . They packed the streets of Newcastle. They packed the area outside the Civic Centre. They packed the grounds of Washington Old Hall and they all opened their arms to Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.
Among those cheering the 39th President of the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. was former Newcastle City Councillor Theresa Russell. Now 93, she says Jimmy Carter's visit was one of the highlights of her 54 years service as a Labour councillor in the city.
While she is too modest to admit it, it was in part thanks to Theresa that the President came to the region. Rosalynn Carter had launched the Friendship Force to build bridges between the US and the rest of the world. One of the first cities to become involved was Newcastle and exchanges took place with Atlanta, capital of Jimmy Carter's home state of Georgia.
While Rosalynn was president of the US chapter, Theresa took on the role in the Northumbria branch, and spent two days at the White House with the Carters the year before their North-East visit.
"I remember it as being a very happy and very enjoyable time," Theresa says. "I can remember Rosalynn showing me around the White House.
"I think they came to Newcastle because of the Friendship Force. We had already gone over there and I think Jimmy Carter and his wife wanted to see Newcastle for themselves. I think they deserved to come here."
There was also the added draw of visiting Washington Old Hall in Tyne and Wear Tyne and Wear, former metropolitan county, NE England. Created in the 1974 local government reorganization, the county embraced the Newcastle upon Tyne conurbation and comprised five metropolitan districts: Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, with its historic links to the USA.
The stone-built mansion was the ancestral home The Ancestral Home (Dom Ojczysty) is a political party in Poland, founded after the elections. It is a splinter of the League of Polish Families and led by Piotr Krutul. of America's first president, George Washington.
Theresa remembers as if it were yesterday meeting the President at the civic reception in Newcastle's Mansion House. "He said, `Hello Theresa,' and I said, `You remember my name?' The President replied, `I couldn't forget it!'"
A tingle went down her spine as Jimmy Carter delivered his famous `Ha'way the Lads' speech.
Newcastle had decided to mark the link and President Carter's visit by bestowing on him the rare distinction of becoming an Honorary Freeman of the city.
The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, the late Coun Hugh White Hugh White (December 25, 1798 - October 6, 1870) was a U.S. Representative from New York.
Born in Whitestown, New York, White attended the common schools. He was graduated from Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, in 1823. He studied law but did not practice. , presented the necessary scroll with words which probably had been crafted by an astute PR man. "Mr President sir, you are a Georgian. You have now become a Geordie."
This was the point at which Jimmy Carter talked his way into Tyneside folklore.
"There had been a civic reception and Jimmy Carter then addressed the crowds. He said `Ha'way the Lads' in an almost perfect accent and the crowds just cheered and cheered. No man has ever had such a welcome here," Theresa recalls.
Cynics Cynics (sĭn`ĭks) [Gr.,=doglike, probably from their manners and their meeting place, the Cynosarges, an academy for Athenian youths], ancient school of philosophy founded c.440 B.C. by Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates. smiled wanly and conjured the picture of a bright White House aide leaning over the President on board Air Force One to explain the best way of endearing himself to the locals.
But in reality, the greeting which has passed into legend was all the President's own idea. On the drive from the airport to the city centre, Jimmy Carter had seen a newspaper bill with the legend `Ha'way Jimmy' and another referring to `The lads'.
He turned to the late Ernie Armstrong, MP for Durham North-West, who was accompanying him and asked what the references meant. Like a good professional politician, Jimmy Carter spotted the potential and exploited it.
After making a standard speech about peace and democracy - and observing with a grin the boos Prime Minister Jim Callaghan attracted when it was his turn to speak - President Carter and his party left for Sunderland.
There, he visited the Joblings Glass factory before travelling to Washington Old Hall and then back to Newcastle Airport and his flight on Air Force One. Every minute of his brief visit was accompanied by cheering and enthusiastic crowds. The North-East had seen nothing like it.
But is it likely to be a scene repeated when George Bush and his party visit the region this week?
Theresa hopes so. "I think it is only right that President Bush should come to this region and as fellow English speaking people we should give him a rapturous welcome and show him, like we did Jimmy Carter, how hospitable hos·pi·ta·ble
1. Disposed to treat guests with warmth and generosity.
2. Indicative of cordiality toward guests: a hospitable act.
3. we can be."