RIP Podgy, a true stalwart of Sunderland, Durham CCC, the Barmy Army

It is not often that something that needs an airing here appears first at the Salut! Sunderland Facebook page (you can join the group by following this link).

This is an exception and one that deserves a wider audience. Posted from Cancun, Mexico as M Salut’s holiday nears its end, here is the mini-tribute by Martin Emmerson, from BBC Radio Newcastle and one of Salut! Sunderland’s great friends to George Summerside:

Lads, the weekend was marred by a great deal of sadness for many Durham and Sunderland fans following the sudden death of George Summerside.

Podgy was part of the Barmy Army and travelled all over the world watching England’s cricketers in action, while promoting Sunderland AFC, Durham CCC and any Sunderland hostelries who were prepared to give him a bit of beer money.

One of the game’s characters gone. A great bloke with a big heart. And his passing has shocked many people. He was 53.

In the photograph, Podgy is on the left. Many of you will have seen this flag many times on TV. He was very clever at convincing stewards to allow him into sections of grounds so he could put his flag up, right behind the bowler, for all to see on TV. He was also very clever at sourcing tickets for people too.

* Another friend, Georgia Lewis, added the comment “Rest well, Podgy! Sounds like a top bloke” and it would be hard to improve on that.

12 thoughts on “RIP Podgy, a true stalwart of Sunderland, Durham CCC, the Barmy Army”

  1. I got up at 7 this morning to watch a bit of cricket. The very second I turned the box on all I could see was Podgy’s flag covering the whole screen. A fitting epitaph.

  2. i shared a room with george all over the world shocked is an under statement rip george hope you are at peace cockney chris

  3. George was a top fella and a real character. Always good fun on SAFC away trips and it was a pleasure to have known him.

    RIP George you will be a massive miss.

  4. By chance, we ended up staying in the same hotel in Charleston on the tour of the US. We hit it off straight away – the bond of SAFC. I only spent a weekend with him but he made a great impression on me and my son – very friendly, lots of good stories and wanting to hear yours, too. Great company. He had Flanny with him, too, and was really looking after him, which shows what a great heart he had.

    I never could figure out how he got the funds to go absolutely everywhere. What a loss.

    RIP, Podgy, marra…Mark.

  5. I only met Podgy the once, in Wilmington, North Carolina on a pre-season tour. It’s certainly true that he could get in where water couldn’t! He was a top bloke and will be missed.

  6. The daft thing is I am not even into Cricket that much but boy do I recognise that flag!!! On every Sky news report BBC news report Local sports news report from every corner of the earth that flag appeared and I was always a proud mackem thinking “go on lads fly the flag for the red & whites!

    So sorry to hear the news 🙁 I did not know ya Podgy (pity) but RIP Fella and fly the flag for us up wherever you may be mate p.s put a word in for us with the big man eh!

  7. Rest in peace my Sunderland and barmy army friend, been together all around the world and will be sorely missed.

    Peter and Clare mapp

  8. Didn’t know Podgy but knew lads that did, especially going to the cricket and by all accounts top fella. So young as well, RIP

  9. Podgy, RIP marra. We went back to teenage years at the back of the Fulwell, graduating to the No.17 with all the lads at the rear of the Roker. Home and away through thin and thin and a little bit of thick.

  10. Really Sad news about George he was a top lad and was always willing to help you out i had some right laughs with him from New York Amsterdam and all over the country
    you,ll be missed mate


  11. Part of the fun of watching cricket on TV (especially the overseas tours) is spotting the different banners associated with football clubs. “Podgy Roker/Howard Arms etc) was always prominent and spotted early. I didn’t know “Podgy” but always envied his presence at so many overseas cricket grounds. RIP

  12. I didn’t know George or “Podgy” as he was seemingly better known as. I was no stranger to The Howard Arms in my youth although my preferred destination was always The Fort.

    Like many millons of TV viewers I was always intrigued as to how someone associated with The Howard Arms could so frequently position his flag in the direct view of the cameras. It always made me smile though.

    “Podgy” was clearly a colourful character and popular amongst those who knew him. The passing of any Mackem is a loss to our brotherhood. RIP.

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