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Ex-Coronation Street star on hunt for Sunderland relatives

The cast of this years Sunderland Empire panto have been paying a visit to the National Glass Centre. Pictured in character are Dean Sullivan (Baron Hardup), Tarot Joseph (Ugly Sister), Sherrie Hewson (Fairy Godmother), Jamie Morris (Ugly Sister), Amy Thompson (Cinderella) and Jamie Rickers (Buttons).

The cast of this years Sunderland Empire panto have been paying a visit to the National Glass Centre. Pictured in character are Dean Sullivan (Baron Hardup), Tarot Joseph (Ugly Sister), Sherrie Hewson (Fairy Godmother), Jamie Morris (Ugly Sister), Amy Thompson (Cinderella) and Jamie Rickers (Buttons).

ACTRESS Sherrie Hewson is on the hunt for her long lost Mackem relatives – and she needs your help.

The Loose Women panellist chose to do pantomime in Sunderland this year in a bid to get closer to her Wearside roots.

She’s planning to juggle her role as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the Sunderland Empire, which opens on Friday, with tracing her family tree.

So far, she has traced her father Ron Hutchinson’s roots back to Castletown and she believes her grandmother Katherine Pearn lived in Castletown and Washington.

The Benidorm actress said: “The company approached me about doing pantomime which they do every year. I wasn’t going to do it this year, but when they mentioned a list of places, Sunderland was on there and thought ‘I have to do it for my dad’. I want to see if there’s anybody here who remembers him.

“He moved away when he was 16 or 17 and then joined the Army.

“He loved the North East, and would still always say ‘why aye pet’. I used to call him a Geordie but I didn’t know the difference between a Geordie and a Mackem back then.”

Sherrie, who played Maureen Holdsworth in Coronation Street, is hoping to visit the local library and Beamish to learn more about her family’s past.

She added: “His mother had died so we didn’t really come up when I was younger. Only when I was about four and seven.

“I remember going to this house, and there being a pit. Though, of course, that’s all changed now. I do feel as though my history is here, and there’s half of me here.

“The North East has always been a part of my life, it’s a home to me but I don’t know why, I’m hoping while I’m here I can find out why.”

Sherrie hopes to meet up with Pearns and Hutchinsons during her three-week run at the Sunderland Empire.

She said: “When my father died, I was in Coronation Street at the time and his family from this area came to Cheshire for the funeral. Sadly, I think they won’t be with us any more but maybe their family members remember them going to the funeral?

“It’s hectic at the moment with rehearsals but once the show’s up and running, I want to spend my mornings finding out more about my family and their history. I really want to go to Beamish to see the pit village and to go to the library here who have been in touch to offer their help.

“What I really want is to have a coffee morning with Pearns and Hutchinsons to see if they can tell me anything. I believe Katherine Pearn’s house is still there and I’d really like to visit it.”

l Cinderella runs at the Sunderland Empire from Friday until January 5. Tickets are available from Tel. 0844 871 3022.

l For a review of the show, see Saturday’s Echo.

l For an interview with Sherrie about her acting career, see tomorrow’s Wow 24/7.RONALD Hutchinson was born on October 21, 1918, in Sunderland.

His parents were John Hutchinson and Katherine Pearn, who had married in 1910.

Ronald’s older siblings were Willie, born 1911, and Mary, born 1912. Willie married a Florence Moore in 1938 and had a son called Kenneth. This would be Sherrie’s cousin.

 

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