Memories of the Sunderland Carnival in 1986.

Sunderland has always been a thriving town when it comes to attractions.

Wednesday, 10th August 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:45 pm
Members of Sunderland East End Jazz Band at the carnival.
Members of Sunderland East End Jazz Band at the carnival.

Thousands turn out to take part in great events.

This week, we turn the clock back three decades and ask for your memories of two favourite events.

The visit of the Joe Loss Band became one of Sunderland Carnival's biggest crow pullers.

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In 1986, Sunderland Carnival was declared a big success, especially when 500 people watched as Joe Loss and his Orchestra brought the event to a spectacular close.

He was performing at the event for a 13th year in a row, and the Echo report at the time told how the “maestro and his musicians made sure the final hours went with a swing.”

He was a big success that year, especially as he had Sunderland musician Desi Lumsden playing sax in the orchestra.

Our report added: “Joe quickly got everyone in the mood and had them foot tapping through a string of evergreen favourites.”

The visit of the Joe Loss Band became one of Sunderland Carnival's biggest crow pullers.

But music wasn’t the only winner that year as the carnival had a massive range of competitions in it.

The annual baby competition was won by two-year-old Kelly Louise Laws

The victory brought back memories for her mum Gillian who won a baby competition herself when she was only six months old. And to complete a great story, her other daughter - six-month Hayley - had only just won a bonny baby competition.

Other category winners in the baby competition that year included Andrew James Much, Luke Sanders and Craig Ellison and our reporter told Echo readers: “The patter of tiny feet and a bevy of toothless grins stole the show at Sunderland Carnival.”

The 1986 carnival was also the first to hold a dog show and it attracted 630 entries from as far as Scotland and Wiltshire.

There were dobermanns from Sunderland, old English sheepdogs from Whitley Bay, rough collies from Peterlee, an Afghan hound from Crook and a long coat chihuahua from Thornaby.

A cocker spaniel belonging to Mrs J Rock from Peterlee was judged best in show.

Animal lovers were also treated to a pony gymkhana organised by the Sunderland and Old Burdon Riding Club while comedian Mile Elliott had everyone “in stitches with his unique brand of humour,” said our reporter.

Other carnival events included a trivia quiz, dance and floral displays, book fair, record sale, amd keep fit display.

Dennis Hinds, the city’s director of recreation and libraries at the time, reckoned 25,000 people had turned out during the week-long carnival.

Also thirty years ago, one of the most colourful attractions in Sunderland’s history made its return.

The city’s illuminations were back after 32 long years of being missing.

But in 1986 they returned to great acclaim.

Who remembers the exhibition that happened in 1986 - totally based around the lights and their history? Here’s a reminder.

The exhibition of illuminations memorabilia was held at the Seaburn Hotel in a partnership between the Borough recreation Department and the Sunderland Community Arts Project.

It hoped to spark people’s memories of holidays by the seaside and asked for memories of those early lights which included floodlit flower beds, enchanted gardens and wood nymphs.

Meanwhile, workers were busy putting up the lights which would stretch along the promenade from the bungalow cafe at Roker down to the Roker ravine and into the park where the bandstand was being “restored to its Victorian splendour”, said our report at the time.

There were lights planned for Bede Cross at Cliff Top Park and the old tram shed at the Seaburn Hotel roundabout.

But it wasn’t just going to be a light show that year. Seafront barbecues, disco parties and pavement artists were also planned.

Were you there and what do you remember about the return of the illuminations.

If you have any memories of the carnival and illuminations down the years, email [email protected]