Ho ho ho? It was as much as case of eh-oh on Wearside in Christmas 1997

Clare Barker boosted the Echo Scanner of Hope Appeal when she heard a Teletubby toy was up for grabs.
Clare Barker boosted the Echo Scanner of Hope Appeal when she heard a Teletubby toy was up for grabs.

It wasn’t so much ho ho ho as eh-oh across Wearside during the Christmas season 20 years ago.

Teletubby toys were all the rage and certainly making a difference for charity. They provided a boost for the Sunderland Echo’s Scanner of Hope Appeal that festive season.

Christine Mussett of Pennywell with her win of a Teletubby at the Sunderland Empire raffle. Pictured with Sunderland Empire's David Brown.

Christine Mussett of Pennywell with her win of a Teletubby at the Sunderland Empire raffle. Pictured with Sunderland Empire's David Brown.

A radio auction and raffle was held at the Sunderland Empire to raise money for the appeal and two Teletubbies raised £362.

Christine Mussett from Pennywell won one of the Teletubbies while Kim Chilberti of Fulford Park offered £20 for Po in an auction at Crowtree Leisure Centre. It meant Kim’s dughter Gabriella, then 2, was all set for a wonderful Christmas surprise.

Sunderland mum Clare Barker boosted the funds of the Appeal when she heard a Teletubby toy was up for grabs on Sun FM.

We’re focusing on Christmases past in forthcoming Wearside Echoes columns and starting with a look back to 1997. For those of you who liked to settle in front of the box, there were lots of firm favourites on the telly.

Victor Meldrew was planning a quiet break in the country in One Foot In The Grave but it all went terrifyingly wrong. Irene and Terry made a shocking announcement in a Christmas Day edition of EastEnders.

Tony and Gary were trying hard to celebrate Christmas in style in men Behaving Badly and all that was on BBC1.

Elswehere, Marlon felt the full wrath of his family’s anger in Emmerdale, and Macaulay Culkin was starring in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York in the ITV big Christmas Day film.

Hony, I Shrunk The Kids, was the movie for the kids on ITV while Channel 5 had a great line-up for the younger generation with Dappledown Farm, Wimzie’s House, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Mr Men and Little Miss.

If it was live entertainment you were after, Thorney Close Variety Club was offering a Christmas cabaret extravaganza, and there were lots of festive party nghts at the Alexandra.

Christmas Eve offered some great live acts at everywhere from Castletown Workmen’s Club to Steels Social Club and from Pallion Workmen’s Club to Grindon Broadway Social Club.

Bon Jordi were on at Westlea Social Club and the Ivy Leaf Social Club offered Wes Allen as the live performer.

You had a great choice of events at the Farringdon Social Club where general knowledge quizzes, randon draws, live acts and 50/50 dancing all kept the crowds entertained.

The Empire Theatre’s pantomime that year was Cinderella and it starred Tonicha Jeronimo from Emmerdale, Benjie McNair from Neighbours, Cobra from Gladiators and John Pickard from 2.4 Children.

For some of you, though, you might have been still stocking up on those last minute presents and you were spoilt for choice in Sunderland.

Jessops in Fawcett Street was stocking the latest Kodak Advantix cameras, while Saxons in Waterloo Place had a huge selectoin of telescopes in stock for the keen astronomer.

Last minute tipples included gin at £6, whisky from £7.99 and vodka from £6.79 at HJ Foodstores, or turkey foil at 49 pence and pottatoes from 49 pence a kilo at Billy’s General Dealers in Red House.

The 1997 festive season was certainly one where the people of Wearside were in a charitable mood.

The city got right behind the Echo scanner appeal and there were plenty of other events that Christmas. Sunderland Millfield Salvation Army donated £150 after members donated £150 instead of giving each other Christmas cards.

Marc Smith, of Town End Farm, raised £340 by touring pubs in the city and challenging players to take him on for a fee.

The Snip Shop in Windsor Terrace raised £100 from a raffle and £150 was raised by the TSSU unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

What are your memories of Christmas in the 1990s? What were your favourite toys from festive seasons gone by? Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk.