We make no apologies for showing the love for the city of Sunderland today.
It’s 25 years since word got out that Sunderland was to become a city - and that’s reason enough to celebrate. But it’s also Valentine’s Day - what better time to wear your heart on your sleeve.
Back in 1992, however, you may have struggled to come up with 25 good reasons why our community should be given city status. Harsher critics would have struggled to come up with five!
The city back then was not exactly in rude health.
We were still coming to terms with the loss of our traditional industries, while our high streets struggled to compete.
The loss of shipbuilding and coal mining had left a void we were desperate to fill while boarded up shops were often the norm, not the exception. City status (at the fifth time of asking) was a welcome if unexpected honour.
Today we have a city on the up. It’s 25 years of blood, sweat and tears that has made Sunderland what it is today. While there are those who still knock the city, when you take a step back there is much to make the community proud.
And while critics may have a pop, there’s few, if any, would deny our status as a city is deserved. We’ve earned that privilege and built on it.
Today we pick out 25 events that helped shape Sunderland; we could have picked 25 more. In fact, we could have picked out thousands, for it’s not just the events that have shaped this city, but the people.
Everyone in the community has played a part in making the city what it is today. And we should be proud of what has been achieved.
Sunderland at 25 ... let’s show the love today.