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Nine stories from Wearside in 1992 - When Freddie the dolphin, Rita from Coronation Street and Mr Universe shared the headlines

What does a dolphin, a department store, and a soap star have in common?

Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 4:55 am

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The answer is they all made the Sunderland Echo headlines in 1992.

Want to know more? Read on and see how many you remember.

*Freddie the dolphin brought amazement and delight to canoeists from Wearside College when he leapt over one of their canoes. Freddie stayed with them for the rest of the day trip to Amble.

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*Coronation Street character Rita Fairclough was in Sunderland to open the newly-refurbished Gala Bingo Club. The old Plaza was gone, and a plush new hall was opened by Corrie actress Barbara Knox.

*But there was sad news elsewhere in town. Binns, which became a landmark in Sunderland over the years and the centrepiece of the busy Fawcett Street, announced that it was set to close its one remaining outlet.

*The history books came to life for children from Valley Road Junior School when they staged a Viking camp at Moor House, near West Rainton. The event was arranged for the education department of Sunderland University to give youngsters a better understanding of the Viking invasions.

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Stories which made the Wearside news in 1992 - see how many you remember.

*Sunderland’s manager Malcolm Crosby took time away from training to brush up on some hairdressing skills. He joined the staff on their first day at Monet’s hairdressing salon at Sainsbury’s in Silksworth.

*Hetton pub The Three Tuns boasted Wearside’s most unusual tourist attraction - the wishing toilet. The idea was dreamed up by landlady Margaret Wedderburn after coins were found at the bottom of the “fountain” one morning.

*Hundreds flocked to Penshaw Monument for the second Festival of the Trees in 1992, including pupils from Shiney Row Primary School.

*Mr Universe Victor Terra caused a few ripples when he stayed at the Houghton home of body-building fans Bryan and Hazel Robinson, before his appearance at the National Amateur Body-building Association’s contest in Gateshead. Victor, 27, was guest of honour at the contest and put on a display for the audience while Mr Robinson was organising the contest.

Coronation Street's Rita Fairclough, played by actress Barbara Knox, at the opening of the newly-refurbished Gala Bingo. She was pictured with Phyllis and David Longstaff in 1992.

*And children by the hundreds flocked to the beach for a sandcastle building competition. Did you take part and did you win?

Mr Universe, Victor Terra who was staying in the area with Hazel Robinson and Bryan Robinson.
The last customers at Binns in Sunderland. News of its closure was announced in 1992.
What a turnout for the sandcastle building competition in 1992. Were you there?
Children from Valley Road Junior School staged a Viking camp at Moor House in 1992.
Hundreds flocked to Penshaw Monument for the second Festival of the Trees in 1992.
Darren Luke, assistant manager of the Three Tuns, with the wishing toilet in 1992.