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Life in Sunderland in 1998 - nine stories which made the headlines 24 years ago

What do Dutch football fans, a daring kitten, and a two-year-old angler have in common?

Friday, 10th June 2022, 12:28 pm
Updated Friday, 10th June 2022, 12:28 pm

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The answer is they were all in the news on Wearside in 1998.

Want to know more? Read on to find out why they hit the headlines alongside talented nursery school children, and a Sunderland footballer who became a referee for the day.

:: Five football-mad Dutchmen swapped the red and white of Amsterdam’s Ajax for the famous stripes of Sunderland.

All these stories made the Echo headlines 24 years ago.

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The gang were treated to a tour of the Stadium of Light to round off a five-day stay in England following Peter Reid’s team.

Nick Elderbroek brought friends Ruby Drew, Ben Van Der Linden, Por Strombergen and Peer Strombergen with him on the footballing holiday.

Nick’s first football kit was a Sunderland shirt, and his support for the club later flourished because of a computer game.

:: Sunderland Harrier Abigail Naugher was selected for Great Britain’s under-20s to take on France and Germany after clocking 55.08 for the 400 metres at the AAA’s under-20 championship.

Gemma Cubby with the six week old kitten Lucy after firefighters rescued her from behind her owner's fireplace.

:: Twenty Nissan workers redecorated the Family Centre in Seaham and they took just two days to do it. Nissan also paid for a new sofa, furnishings and a cooker.

:: Six-week-old kitten Lucy had to be rescued by firefighters from behind her owner’s fireplace at Sharon Cubby’s home in Thanet Road, Thorney Close.

It was Lucky’s first day in her new home as a pet for 12-year-old Gemma Cubby and brother Nathan, five.

:: Pennywell Nursery School was one of a handful throughout the country which was identified as excellent by Chief Inspector of Schools Chris Woodhead in 1998. He made the judgement in his annual report on quality and standards in education.

The Saks Allstars cut through the Grangetown Florists defence. Sunderland football player Richard Ord was referee for the game.

Delighted chair of governors Marjorie Atkinson said: “Getting that letter was like winning the pools and the Lottery all in one.

“After all the things that have been said about Pennywell, it’s wonderful to have this recognition.”

:: Sunderland football player Richard Ord was referee for a charity game between the Saks Allstars and the Grangetown Florists. Who can tell us what the score was and how much money was raised?

:: Callum Robinson netted a record catch. He was the youngest person in the region to win a fishing contest. The two-year-old angler won the prize in a junior open contest held in Southwick.

Children from St John Bosco School who won a sandcastle competition in 1998.

:: Thousands of Wearsiders braved the winds to enjoy high-flying fun at the UK’s biggest kite festival. More than 70,000 visitors turned up at the Sunderland International Kite Festival on the Northern Area Playing Fields in Washington, to enjoy a two-day event jam-packed with fun and entertainment.

:: Children from St John Bosco School won a sandcastle competition in 1998 but were you in the picture when the Sunderland Echo photographer called in?

What are your memories of life on Wearside 24 years ago? Which was your favourite pub and what was your workplace back then?

Get in touch and tell us more by emailing [email protected]

We would love to hear from you.

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Pennywell Nursery School, one of a handful of schools through out the country identified as excellent in 1998.
The Sunderland International Kate Festival in July 1998.