Eight Sunderland stories that made headlines in 1980, including the closure of Bridon Fibers and Lambton Animal Park


Lambton Animal Park, Boldon Colliery and Bridon Fibers were all living their last days 42 years ago.

But it wasn’t all bad as Chris Cordner reports 8 Echo stories that made headlines in 1980.

Of them members of the Sunderland Flying Club – Ray Selkirk and Bob Fox – became pioneers by flying back to America.

42 years have passed since these stories were featured in the Sunderland Echo.

During their 20-hour return trip, they were the first club members to stop over in Canada, Greenland and Iceland and cross the Arctic Circle.

Sunderland Wife Lorna Payne became one of nine assistant WRAF chaplains in the country in 1980. But there was a time when she almost gave up hope of getting the job.

Lorna, 25, first heard of the appointment 18 months earlier, but after applying for the job she was told it had been canceled by the new government.

In November 1979, the position was reinstated and Lorna applied again, this time successfully.

Ray Selkirk and Bob Fox, members of the Sunderland Flying Club.

Bridle Fibers and Plastics was due to close its Sunderland plant.

The closure, which would put 35 people out of work, came just three months after Bridon announced it would move its headquarters from Newcastle to Roker Avenue, with the promise of new jobs for the city.

Lambton animal park – which was opened in 1972 – was due to close due to rising costs and the general economic situation.

The directors of Lambton Adventure Park said the castle area would continue to offer a full day out for families and the Lambton Park garden center would remain open all year round.

Bridon Fibers in Sunderland.

The The region received another blow with the news that Boldon Colliery – which had 950 employees – was likely to close.

It is believed that a dismantling in one of the most famous pits in the area could start in early 1981, with the last coal being mined in late 1982.

Did you work there and what are your memories of the pit?

The NCB was cautious about the future of the 114-year-old mine which was one of the oldest in the Durham coalfield, but there were due to be a series of meetings.

Boldon Colliery in 1982.

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A New The sports school, based at the Peterlee Leisure Centre, proved to be a great success as it allowed the children to play games which they would not otherwise have had the opportunity to enjoy.

About 150 young people practiced judo, archery, basketball and volleyball. Were you among them?

The The first Santa Claus of 1980 took up residence in his cave in Binns in Sunderland on the third floor of the town center store.

A long line of young customers was there to greet him when he arrived.

Of them Hockey players – Marie Scott and Karen Levitt – from Thornhill School in Sunderland celebrating after being selected for the England Hockey Trials.

Lorna Payne of South Hylton, one of nine assistant WRAF chaplains in the country in 1980.

What are your memories of life in Wearside and County Durham in 1980?


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