Artist and broadcaster Alfie Joey creates red-and-white celebration of all things Sunderland

Alfie's colourful artwork
Alfie's colourful artwork

A popular broadcaster has put pencil to paper to create a caricature celebrating colourful Sunderland characters and landmarks.

Familiar Mackem faces, such as Bobby ‘The Little Waster’ Thompson, Lauren Laverne, Terry Deary, Dave Stewart and even St Bede, feature in the artwork.

Alfie Joey

Alfie Joey

There’s also more than a few nods to SAFC with the Stadium of Light, the Bob Stokoe statue, former players Bobby Kerr, Jimmy Montgomery and Gary Bennett, and SAFC commentator Nick Barnes, all featuring in the red and white piece.

Even the Echo makes a cameo appearance under the arm of Alfie’s mum in the front row, which is made up of his friends and family.

Speaking about his inspiration for the piece, Alfie, who co-presents BBC Newcastle’s breakfast show, said: “I’d been asked to work on a picture of Newcastle for a shopping campaign. A gallery said they really liked it and that they get asked for pictures like this featuring Sunderland all the time.

“I have more affinity with Sunderland than Newcastle so I decided to put one together. I didn’t know where I’d start or finish, and it’s still a work in progress, but I’m adding characters all the time.

“Recent additions include Sister Francis, a well-known nun from the convent on Tunstall Road, and Katie Bulmer-Cooke who I’ve added in running up Penshaw Monument.”

Sunderland’s new bridge and The Fire Station, which recently opened as an arts hub after a £3.5m development, also get their own spot in the picture.

Alfie, who is also well-known for being one half of impressionist duo The Mimic Men, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, said: “The picture coincides with the City of Culture bid. A lot of the locations featured were on the judges’ tour of the city. To mark their visit we did a radio show from Roker in which we talked about all the brilliant things in Sunderland so it was all fresh in my mind.”

Once the piece is complete it will be on sale at the North East Art Collective in Eldon Square, Newcastle with a view to stocking it elsewhere in the future.