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The Sunderland people of the past you would most like to meet again - as chosen by you

From Bobby Thompson to Jack Crawford – they’re the Wearside people you wish you could meet.

Sunday, 15th May 2022, 4:55 am

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We asked the followers of the Sunderland Echo’s nostalgia page which famous person they would like to meet from the North East’s past.

What a range of celebrities you suggested, including everyone from the sinister to sports stars.

Some of the famous people of the past with Wearside connections who you would have loved to have met.

Sign up to our Wearside Echoes Newsletters. A monthly round-up of our retro best bits

Caroline Wilkinson wanted to meet Mary Ann Cotton. Low Moorsley-born Cotton, who lived in South Hetton and Hendon during her years, was hanged in the 1870s for the murder of her seven-year-old stepson and it is thought she was responsible for the deaths of up to 20 others.

Caroline said: “Fascinating story. I'd have a million questions for her.”

Melissa Johnson, Shirley Anne Smalley, Marlene Emmerson, Lynne Roberts and others would love to meet Bobby Thompson.

Bobby Thompson in Woolworths in 1978.

Shirley ‘worked with him lots’ while Lynne said: “My parents met him, he was doing a turn at the club. My dad used to go to and he was sitting at the same table. Very nice man so I was told.”

Bobby was from Penshaw and he remained a North East favourite until his death in the late 1980s.

David John Ellemore said ‘Jack Crawford the sailor lad’ and Isabella Surtees, Allan Silk and Jean Underwood Harrison all agreed.

Brian Clough in action for Sunderland against Newcastle in 1962.

Mark Walker would have loved to meet Brian Clough, the Sunderland centre forward who made 61 appearances for the Black Cats and scored 54 goals before becoming one of the greatest managers of the English game.

Another Black Cats hero, the 1973 Cup scoring hero Ian Porterfield, was the choice of David Shillito.

Margaret Crosbie and Dorothy Berry suggested the actor Bill Travers.

Mary Abram wanted to meet ‘The Cauld Lad of Hylton’ while Bill Gowland said Joseph Swan, the genius Sunderland inventor.

The Jack Crawford statue in Sunderland.

Wearside Echoes has more than 7,000 followers. Those who have joined are already enjoying daily reminders of Sunderland’s past as well as sharing their own memories.

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