It’s not unusual to spot a star in Sunderland – this lot did!

It’s that ‘is it really you’ moment.

By Chris Cordner
Thursday, 31st January 2019, 10:36 am
Updated Thursday, 31st January 2019, 10:38 am
Bill Maynard pictured at Houghton in 1959.
Bill Maynard pictured at Houghton in 1959.

We’re talking about the time you come face-to-face with a celebrity and have to do a double take to make sure it’s true.

And when we asked followers of our Wearside Echoes page on Facebook which stars they had seen in the past, we got a massive response.

Charlie Williams. Photo: PA.

Here are some examples but we would love even more of your stories about the celebrities you’ve encountered.

High upon the list was singing superstar Tom Jones.

Patricia Crowe spotted him “in Woolworths when he was appearing at La Strada ... in the 60’s” while Hilda Dickinson saw him at “Wetheralls on the green.”

Liz Collier said: “Don Estelle in Joplings, off It Aint Half Hot Mum.”

A comic favourite got the attention of Leslee Robson Barron and Jean Nesbitt.

Leslee met Charlie Williams “when he browsed my counter during the time I worked for Woolworths in 1971. He was quite chatty and laughed a lot. Nice memory of him.”

Jean “used to love watching Charlie Williams and others on the Comedians and The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club.”

Another Jean memory was meeting the actor Simon Williams – who starred in Upstairs Downstairs – at Hepworths in the 1970s.

So did Janet Teasdale who saw him in the Beach Club. She said: “All I remember was how tall he was lol xx.”

Thanks to both Jean and Janet for their contributions.

Allan Donkin was asked directions to the cinema “about 6 years ago by Sylvester McCoy (ex Dr Who)”

Allan added: “We were near the Winter Gardens at the time so was easy to direct him, and I said it’s easy to find , but a lot easier by Tardis.”

Mick Colman told us: “Jimmy Clitheroe at Roker Park the day after I saw him at the Empire. Also Bobby Robson at a supermarket in Washington.”

Sue Parkin, of Sue’s Cafe, has had plenty of celebrities who have come to pay a visit over the years including ‘Paddy Mcguinness. Dick from Dick and Dom. Mick McCarthy. Alan Titchmarsh.’

We thank her for her contributions.

Ronald Turner said: “Bill Maynard stopped me on Gillbridge Ave to ask directions to his digs when he was appearing at Sunderland Empire.”

While Gillian May Donkin said: “Sheena Easton was in HMV in High Street West in the time 80s. She was there to promote something, I guess.”

Dave Mack Mackel saw Ray Sawyer from Doctor Hook in Joplings, and also saw Michaela Strachan, adding: “I think she was officially opening Specsavers in The Bridges.”

Norma Carr has certainly met her fair share of celebs including Tommy Steele, Mike and Bernie Winters ‘going into the Empire’, and Freddie Starr at Southwick Social Club – all in the 1960s.

Ann Porter was another to meet a string of celebrities including Pat Phoenix, The Kinks, Freddie and the Dreamers, and Alvin Stardust.

Bill Gowland remembers meeting Les Gray from Mud ‘about a year before they hit the big time’.”

Thanks to the thousand-plus who have signed up for Wearside Echoes – the place where followers can leave their own memories on the Sunderland Echo’s own special tribute to Wearside nostalgia.

The Wearside Echoes page on social media will soon be six-months-old.

And since its launch we’ve covered all sorts of topics.

But more importantly, it’s a chance for followers to leave their own memories and interact – all with a view to highlighting Sunderland and County Durham’s great past.

So why not join up by heading to Facebook and going to the Wearside Echoes page.

Or, alternatively, you could get involved with our Wearside Echoes daily feature in the Sunderland Echo by emailing your memories of times gone by to [email protected]

We would love your contributions on all sorts of topics – and feel free to chip in by sending your own photographs as well. Let’s share some wonderful memories.