Sunderland’s heroes name their favourite spots – what’s yours?

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FAMOUS sons and daughters of Wearside have been celebrating the place they call home.

Washington music legend Bryan Ferry, Sunderland FA Cup winner Jimmy Montgomery, former Monkwearmouth School pupil Melanie Hill and fellow actor Gina McKee, who grew up around Horden and Peterlee, Fatfield-born Animals keyboard player Alan Price, TV architect George Clarke from Washington, Durham cricketer Paul Collingwood and footballing Olympian Steph Houghton from South Hetton are among the well-known names to have been interviewed for new coffee-table book My North East.

Penned by former journalists Michael Hamilton and Anne Graham, the book features interviews with 65 celebrities from stage and screen, musical heroes and sporting legends about their memories and favourite places in the region.

All profits from the venture will be donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, after the late football hero inspired the book.

Among the places featured are: Roker Park, the Stadium of Light, Penshaw Monument, Marsden Rock, Seaburn, Durham Cathedral, Castle Eden Dene, Crimdon, Souter Lighthouse and Lumley and Lambton Castles.

Anne said: “When I spoke to Sir Bobby in 2008 about the launch of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation he talked passionately about what he hoped the charity would achieve in the region.

“He wanted to make a difference in the area where his own roots lay. It has exceeded even his dreams – and continues to do so.

“Talking to fellow North Easterners about Sir Bobby after he died, it became clear to me that they shared his fierce loyalty and deep affection for this unique part of the world.

“And that’s how the book was born. We’ve brought together for the first time in words and images what home means to many of the region’s famous sons and daughters – including Sir Bobby.”

•My North East, published by Kingfisher Reach Communications, is available now priced £20.

•George Clarke on Roker Park: “It was £1.50 to get in and I used to stand in exactly the same spot in the Roker End every week and have a Bovril and a pie at half-time. The team was rubbish in the late Eighties but they were all superheroes to me.”

•Paul Collingwood on playing at Chester-le-Street’s Riverside Stadium: “Playing cricket at the Riverside in the sunshine with a great crowd watching and Lumley Castle in the background is always a fantastic experience, and I’m privileged to play for the county where I’m from.”

•Bryan Ferry on Penshaw Monument: “My favourite North East view is Penshaw Monument which I used to see every day from my house in Washington where I grew up.”

•Steph Houghton on growing up in South Hetton: “When I think back to being a child the main thing that comes to mind is always playing football, either in the schoolyard, in the streets or at South Hetton cricket club near my home. That was my world.”

•Jimmy Montgomery on his favourite spot in Sunderland: “There are some great places in the world and in the North East but, for me, there is nowhere like Seaburn.”

•Melanie Hill on Roker: “The place that has best memories for me is the Cat and Dog steps at Seaburn. I think it’s the most beautiful spot on the planet.”

•Alan Price on being from Wearside: “I’ll never forget the day Sunderland won the FA Cup in 1973. I was there. I flew back from Los Angeles for it and even forecast the result when I had an argument with Jackie Charlton who was also invited there by the BBC.”

WE have teamed up with the authors of the book to give away five copies which have been signed by Black Cats legend Jimmy Montgomery.

To be in with a chance of winning, answer this question: where in the area is Bryan Ferry from. Email your answer with your contact details to

The closing date is Monday.