Chipsters galore remember the Chipper Club

An Echo trip to the Odeon to see Herbie Rides Again in 1974.
An Echo trip to the Odeon to see Herbie Rides Again in 1974.
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There’s 21,000 reasons why you loved the Chipper Club.

Because that’s how many of you responded when we posted a Memory Lane photograph on social media.

An old Chipper page in the Sunderland Echo.

An old Chipper page in the Sunderland Echo.

We wanted to know if Echo readers remembered the days of Uncle Derek, club badges and certificates

Loads of you did and came up with some fantastic recollections of the good old days.

They included Susan Wright who still has her badge, membership card and “three cards for writing into the Echo three times.”

She added: “I never cashed them in and that was over 50 years ago.”

I wrote to Uncle Derek when I was onboard the SS Nevasa off the coast of Portugal in 1968. My letter started ‘I am writing to you from somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean

Linda Nixon Grundy

Linda Nixon Grundy loved it so much she even wrote a letter to Uncle Derek when she was out of the country.

She remembered: “I wrote to Uncle Derek when I was onboard the SS Nevasa off the coast of Portugal in 1968. My letter started ‘I am writing to you from somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean’.”

Michelle Robson was a regular winner with Chipper thanks to the stories she sent in. She also remembered going to see the Bay City Rollers with the Chipper Club and said: “Happy days.”

Claire Boyle won a Beatrix Potter video and said it “soon became my favourite christmas film. Loved the chipper club x”

Chipsters at the Odeon in December 1980 to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The 90 lucky winners had correctly named the seven dwarf.

Chipsters at the Odeon in December 1980 to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The 90 lucky winners had correctly named the seven dwarf.

Others with memories included;

Carol Fulton: “Yes I was desperate to see my name on the birthday page,but they never printed it.”

Angela Wind: “Was my mist favourite part of my birthday every year, seeing my name in the Echo.”

Debra Garside: “Won colouring completion and me and nana joany went too see Cinderella good times xx.”

Jane Ogle: “I still got my Chipper club badge, and my Mecca club card.”

Marie Lanaghan: “I won loads of competitions! Remember my number too - 46264!”

Andrea Johnson: “Yes I’ve still got my badge, membership card, 2 merits, and my letters, when you got three merits you would get 50p.”

Julie Nash: “Ha ha yes used to get echo especially to see name in on birthday lol.”

Judith Murrayfield: “Yes. I was thrilled to see my name in the Birthday roundups. Loved Chipper.”

Diane Robinson: “Yes and so was my children and now my granddaughter x”

Joan Robinson: “We got a dog in 1969 and called him Chipper!!”

Pat Johnston: “Got ya pic in the paper and a mention for your birthday xx”

Linda Blakelock: “Ha ha totally forgot about that yes I was a member!!”

Ann Carter: “Yes 50 plus years ago Loved the chipper club.”

Anthony Blacker: “Still got the badge. Wonder how much it’s worth.”

Alison Gooch: “Yes get 3 letters published and get a 25p postal order.”

Margaret Kennedy: “my children were and often won prizes.”

Chipper Club was a fantastic mix of puzzles, readers letters, photographs and messages from Uncle Derek.

Members were known as Chipsters and would have their names printed in the Sunderland Echo on their birthdays.

Children aged between five and 15 could be members and dozens of them would be mentioned each week.

Chipsters even had their own code which meant that, when they sent their letters in, other members could decipher it by using the code which came with their membership card.

One of our photos shows a very early Chipper page in 1963 and among the people to be mentioned that day were May Peverley, Janice Barnes, Stephen Weatherill, Elizabeth Holdstock, Glenda Batery and Stephen Richardson.

Who remembers the later Chipper Club pages in the 1980s for example, when it had colouring in competitions with the chance to win tickets to see a stage show at the Empire Theatre in Sunderland?

There was the chance to have your jokes published, or you could tell Uncle Derek if you had joined a new school, gone to Brownies or Scouts, or if you wanted to tell fellow Chipsters about a great holiday you had been on.

Every week, two lucky Chipsters received a merit card and in 1985, those lucky winners included Anthony Hall and Louise Allison.

But we are sure there are more Echo readers out there with their own memories of Chipper Club.

Get in touch and tell us more.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk.