Mackem dictionary which left SAFC players stumped raises bumper amounts of cash for charity

Out-on-loan player Steven Fletcher
Out-on-loan player Steven Fletcher
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A best-selling book that celebrates the weird and wonderful world of Wearside words has raised more than £8,500 for charity.

Created by Wearside-born artist and photographer Paul Swinney in collaboration with publishers A Love Supreme, the Mackem Dictionary captures the rich range of words and phrases commonly used across Sunderland.

Exceeding all expectations, the book shot straight to the top of the Waterstones’ chart on the day of its release and continued to sell well, with all proceeds going towards SAFC charity, the Foundation of Light.

“I’m really delighted at how successful the Mackem Dictionary has been,” said Paul. “The point of it was to celebrate the uniqueness of Wearside and what’s great about being from Sunderland.

“It’s been fantastic to see how everyone has really got involved with it and wanted to show their pride for the area which is very important.

“We have our ups and downs and challenges, but being able to pull together and to celebrate what we have and the uniqueness of our accents as well as other good things about Sunderland has been a real pleasure.”

Growing from a small idea to best-seller, Paul’s Mackem Dictionary has been nominated for the Made in Sunderland prize at the Sun FM Style Awards which honours those who have helped promote the City of Sunderland to a wider audience through a product or business.

Paul added: “You always hope that it is going to go well, particularly when the idea received a good reaction on social media a few years ago. You keep your fingers cross it’s going to do okay but the reaction it got was far beyond what we expected.

“It was a best seller in Waterstones and has gone all around the world. The feedback has been great and we’ve really enjoyed hearing about how everyone loves reading it.”

The Dictionary has also received celebrity acclaim from figures such as architect and TV personality George Clarke, as well as members of the Sunderland AFC first-team such as John O’Shea and DeAndre Yedlin who took a test on how well they know the words of Wearside.

Paul Swinney with Richard Hopper from the Foundation of Light

Paul Swinney with Richard Hopper from the Foundation of Light

“The Sunderland players reading some of the Mackem words was an absolute highlight,” says Paul. “Both Wearsiders and people who aren’t from Sunderland thought it was very funny and the players really got into the spirit of it, which was great to see.”

Money raised will be ploughed back into the community to help North East families through the Foundation of Light, the registered charity of SAFC.