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The story behind the beautiful ‘Shipyards’ by The Lake Poets, the ‘Sunderland Til I Die’ theme

Told in his own words, Marty Longstaff (also known as The Lake Poets) explains the story behind his song ‘Shipyards’, which has captivated Wearside since it was revealed as the theme track to ‘Sunderland Til I Die’ last week.

“Sunderland Til I Die”
The Lake Poets

Quite a few people have been asking about the background story to ‘Shipyards’, and I thought today would be a good day to share it.

Today would have been my Granda’s 94th birthday.

He was a quiet, hard-working, and humble man - a kind and dignified man, and my hero.

Born in the depressed pre-World War Two period in Pallion, he worked as a rivet catcher, and then a crane driver at Austin & Pickersgill shipyard in Deptford, Sunderland. He stayed there his entire working life.

Marty’s Granda
The Lake Poets

These trinkets are all I have to physically remind me of him - his club card, and his broken watch. Despite coming from nothing and living a hard life he made the most of it and adored his family above all else, aside from maybe Sunderland AFC.

I owe so much to him and cherish the love he bestowed on me as a young man.

You can’t buy that.

He typifies for me the working class rock - a person who held it all together when it all fell apart; a person who didn’t grumble; a person who did their best.

I’m lucky that my family is full of this type of person, and I’m sure you recognise this person in your own family too. It might even be you.

This song is for and about those people - the ones who eschew fanfare; the ones who put others before themselves; the ones who give more than they receive.

This is my thank you to them. Let’s make them proud.