Budding stage stars on song for tribute to Wearside punk icon Dickie Hammond

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Sunshine and smiles filled a Wearside park as rising music stars took centre stage to pay a fitting tribute to a much-missed punk icon today.

Scores of music-lovers flocked to Mowbray Park in Sunderland to be serenaded in the summer sun by an array of precocious performers at the annual Smile Concert.

Corine Andrews singing at the annual Smile Concert in Mowbray Park, Sunderland, on Saturday

Corine Andrews singing at the annual Smile Concert in Mowbray Park, Sunderland, on Saturday

The extravaganza of emerging talent has been a huge hit at the park for over a decade.

But this year's bonanza was extra special as musicians banded together to honour Sunderland punk legend Dickie Hammond, who sadly died at the age of just 50 last October.

Much-missed Mr Hammond won a legion of fans as a member of 1990s punk band Leatherface, before enjoying stints with the likes of the Angelic Upstarts and The Dipsomaniacs, Doctor Bison, Generic, H.D.Q., Hex, Stokoe, The Jones, and Toy Dolls.

He helped to pave the way for future generations of stage stars - with an array of up-and-coming musicians hitting a high note to mark his life in style at the park.

Audience at the annual Smile concert, Mowbray Park, Sunderland on Saturday.

Audience at the annual Smile concert, Mowbray Park, Sunderland on Saturday.

The Smile Concert showcases the talent of budding performers who attend the Sunderland Music Workshops, which has been the springboard for crowd-pleasing acts such as Field Music and Frankie & the Heartstrings.

Organisers laid on a photographic montage of musical memories from his long and varied career - and even brought two of his trusty guitars to the event for fans to take a closer look at.

Mr Hammond's mum Valerie handed over a fantastic £620 donation to the Sunderland Music Workshops after the cash was raised through a collection at his funeral at Sunderland Crematorium.

Dave Murray, who set up the Sunderland Music Workshops in the 1990s , said: "We have held the concert in the park since 2003.

Rising stars proved a hit at the Smile Concert.

Rising stars proved a hit at the Smile Concert.

"For many of the performers, it is the first chance they will get to perform in public and in front of a crowd.

"It is a great way for them to boost their confidence and their self esteem.

"The first band on today where No Cross, who were one of Dickie Hammond's bands. They are going straight to a gig in Leeds after performing here.

"It is a brilliant tribute to Dickie.

Tammy Proctor singing at the annual Smile Concert in Mowbray Park, Sunderland, on Saturday

Tammy Proctor singing at the annual Smile Concert in Mowbray Park, Sunderland, on Saturday

"It is also a big community event, getting more people into the park.

"It's a great family event."

A rich array of bands and solo performers - both seasoned stage acts and newcomers alike - kicked off the musical marathon at noon, with the event running until 4pm.

Acts gracing the stage included Megan Berry and Corine Andrews, Fire Lady Luck, Symbient and The Jam Band.

Jennie Lambert, learning officer at Sunderland and Museum Winter Gardens who helped to organise the event, added: "A lot of the young people have been practising all year, preparing, they've had to commit to it and now this is the chance, for some of the first time, to perform in public.

"It's a lovely way to use the bandstand and get people involved in the park and generate a lovely atmosphere.

Fire Lady Luck, one of the bands taking part in the annual Smile concert in Mowbray Park, Sunderland on Saturday.

Fire Lady Luck, one of the bands taking part in the annual Smile concert in Mowbray Park, Sunderland on Saturday.

"Dickie's mum has come along with the cheque that will be invested in a recording studio.

"This will be his legacy."

Tammy Proctor singing at the annual Smile Concert in Mowbray Park, Sunderland, on Saturday

Tammy Proctor singing at the annual Smile Concert in Mowbray Park, Sunderland, on Saturday