Who remembers making a Tracy Island?

One of those elusive Tracy Island toys. Do you recognise the person selling it?
One of those elusive Tracy Island toys. Do you recognise the person selling it?

Do you remember those must-have toys, you know the ones you just couldn’t get hold of in the shops?

How many parents queued up in the wee small hours to get their hands on the first “reinforcements” of mutant turtle toys to hit the shelves.

Turtle toys, based upon the TV cartoon characters, were so popular that when stores did get fresh supplies, shoppers were restricted to just one set of four figures each.

Funny how they’re still popular today.

And who could forget the demand for a Thunderbirds Tracy Island toy?

Such was the demand for these Matchbox toys that they sold out in a blink of the eye, leaving many youngsters bitterly disappointed.

However, help was at hand, in the form of Blue Peter, whose presenters, at the time, showed children how to make their own Tracy Island.

It proved an overnight sensation, with home-made Tracy Islands popping up nationwide.

Do you remember making one or were you (like Marian Dawson and Maureen Roberts, who took to Facebook to tell me that they got theirs from T&G Allens) lucky enough to have had one bought for you?

Just like the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Thunderbirds remains a firm favourite with today’s youngsters, with a cartoon version of the puppet show still gracing our TV screens.

Thunderbirds were, as you know, created by Gerry Anderson and his wife Sylvia.

Who remembers their earlier shows (and the wonderful theme music that accompanied each), such as Supercar, Fireball XL5 and Stingray?

What were your favourite children’s TV shows?

Please drop me a line with the ones that had you glued to the gogglebox.

Talking of Facebook, yet more readers have taken to social media to comment about the photo of Cigarette Components that we featured recently.

Dave Mc Alister posted: “I only worked there for 24 years, a two-year spell from 1987 to 89 and 1993 till 2015.

“Some of my colleagues in engineering had been there from school, as had a lot of the production staff. A fantastic bunch of people and a great place to work. Before my time, there was a thriving social scene at ‘Ciggies’ though when I joined the company we still had the annual Christmas outing to the Newcastle Mayfair.

“We also ran race trips, nights out, weekends away etc. Even after it closed, some of us have remained in regular contact and there’s a Facebook page I’ve set up for old photos and memories to be shared with over 200 members at the last count.”

Maree Pritchard said: “I worked there, and loved it, great people, would always do anything to help each other. I’m still friends with a few people there. Money was fantastic too. I was on inspection.”

Susan Sinclair took to social media to say: “Absolutely loved working at Ciggies, they treated you like a human being, we had nights out, Christmas parties, and the pay was really good.

“If I could work there again tomorrow, I would. Happy days.”

Marc Bayles told us: “Been to visit my 85-year-old grandad in hospital, and we were talking about this article. Think he clocked up about 40 years of service there.”

Elizabeth J Gamble revealed how: “My nanny used to work at Ciggies in the 60s and 70s.”

Linda Mclaren took to social media to say: “Loved it there. Went to London on a trip from there when Newcastle got to Wembley.”

Other readers responded to the recent selection of circus pictures, featured in the paper and online.

Connie Wood said: “I remember them coming to town, I thought I imagined at first but I did not.”

Marion Nicholson posted: “I remember that they used to come into the station yard by train, where B&Q was, then they were paraded through the town to Brinkburn – it was an annual event.” Paul Sneller also makes the connection between Brinkburn and visiting circuses.

Alison Graham-Smith asked Janet Webb and Alan Sword if they could “remember when the circus used to be out the back of nanna Peters?” What are your circus memories?