Life in Sunderland in 1996, the year the 'First Lady of Pennywell' got an MBE and Toy Story figures were in high demand
What a local hero Marjorie Atkinson was.
She made a difference in her neighbourhood and was such an influence that she became known as the First Lady of Pennywell.
But she added to her titles in 1996 when her work in the community was acknowledged in the New Year’s Honours List.
She said at the time: “I’m a very lucky woman, I really enjoy what I do.”
She gave so much to Pennywell
Marjorie was one of the founders of Ford and Pennywell Advice Centre (FPAC), where she served as chairman for 16 years and became life president.
She was also a founder of Pennywell Community Association in 1974. She served as its secretary from the start and started the Pride on Pennywell initiative.
But 1996 was a year when lots of local people were achieving great things.
We’ve got memories of Wearside people of all ages who hit the headlines from the Olympian who got back in the pool to the boy who gave his prized Buzz Lightyear collection away so other children could have a great Christmas.
Say hello once more to the stars of 96;
1948 Olympic swimmer was back in the pool
Don Bland, from Houghton, was down at the pool at 6am most mornings in 1996 as he got back into training.
He starred in the 1948 London Olympics and got back into the sport where he hoped to mark his mark in the World Masters Championship at Sheffield.
Can anyone tell us how Ken did at the Masters?
Ken Gott prayed for more space and the campaigning pastor was given Sunderland’s biggest empty city centre office block.
Crown House, the former Government building, was handed over to Sunderland Christian Centre, a 500-strong Pentecostal church in the East End
“It’s definitely an answer to prayer,” said senior pastor Ken Gott. “We are desperate for more space and we’ve been looking at large sites near the A19.”
The boy who played Santa
Four lucky children got an unexpected Buzz in 1996 thanks to the amazing generosity of one seven-year-old.
Adnam Krzalic, of Houghton, decided to give away his prized collection of the impossible-to-get Toy Story figures after hearing there was a shortage.
He said: “I want them to go to other boys and girls who don’t have mums and dads who won’t get toys this Christmas.
“I have asked Santa for a big Buzz, which is why I can give these away.
Marc Smith was also in the news and that was down to his talents at the snooker table.
Marc was a top-class potter at the Albion in Southwick. Thing is, he was only 8 at the time.
Back in the classroom at 94
Gladys Watson was 94 when she stepped through the doors of Easington Colliery Primary School in 1996.
But it wasn’t her first visit to the school. She dedicated 16 years of her life to teaching youngsters there.
Mrs Watson, then Miss Underwood, started work at the school in 1925 when classes of 50-plus students were normal.
Who was the high-achieving neighbour who you remember from years ago?
It might have been a fundraiser, someone who always checked on their neighbours or perhaps there was a sporting star who lived in your community.
Tell us more by emailing [email protected]