Do you remember seeing the Wombles in South Shields?

Two of The Wombles heading back home to Wimbledon in 1974. What are your memories of the litter-pickers?
Two of The Wombles heading back home to Wimbledon in 1974. What are your memories of the litter-pickers?

In the words of those once hugely popular litter-picking stars of screen and radio, The Wombles; one reader is urging you to – “remember, remember, remember ...”

So what is it that Ashley Marsden wants you to remember? Well, I’ll let Ashley explain.

The late Keith Chegwin at a summer event at Gypsies Green, South Shields, in 1981. Were you there?

The late Keith Chegwin at a summer event at Gypsies Green, South Shields, in 1981. Were you there?

“I’m wondering if you could help,” writes Ashley. “I have tried to scroll through the nostalgia pages but can’t find what I am looking for and wonder if you could point me in the right direction.

“I’m trying to find out when The Wombles played at Gypsies Green Stadium.

“I was only little and seem to remember it, but my family think I am wrong!

“Is there anything in the archives about this?”

Looking through the archives, there have been numerous mentions of The Wombles appearing here on South Tyneside.

Back in 2007, pupils at Lukes Lane Primary, in Hebburn, were being taught how to care for the environment – courtesy of The Wombles.

At the time, The Gazette reported how “The characters – famous for their 1970s TV show – welcomed pupils at the gates, then took part in a litter pick.

“Uncle Bulgaria and his team visited as part of the Not In My Neighbourhood Week initiative.

“One of the aims of the campaign, by the Safer South Tyneside Partnership, was to raise awareness of not dropping litter and recycling.”

However, there was no mention of a concert at Gypsies Green, so it’s over to you, the readers, can you help with Ashley’s query? If so, please get in touch.

Now if memories of The Wombles make you feel “warm and fuzzy” then that’s the power of nostalgia.

So suggests Prudence Wade in the light of her interview with Dr Meg Arroll, psychologist and author of The Shrinkology Solution.

Prudence says: “If you get together with a group of old friends, chances are you’ll spend a large chunk of time reminiscing about the past.

“Shared memories from bygone times are comforting, and can make you feel warm and fuzzy. Not only this, but reminiscing also has the power to bring you closer to the ones you love – particularly if you’ve been drifting apart.”

Dr Arroll believes that looking back can be good us and “protect against future bouts of depression”.

“I both personally and professionally see the benefits of nostalgia,” she says, “for instance, buying retro gifts immediately connects both the giver and receiver not only with one another but also with a shared past.”

The same applies to going to remakes of films with your friends and discussing memories from the original.

“Nostalgia has the ability to bring people together who may have drifted apart – friends may have very different lives now, and so lack a common thread, but childhood memories bind us.

“Studies have demonstrated this and found that when feelings of nostalgia are triggered, social bonds strengthen, positive self-regard increases, and there’s a boost in positive effect (good mood).”

However, nostalgia can have it’s drawbacks, as Prudence goes on to explain.

“It’s altogether too easy to look back with rose-tinted glasses, and that can make you feel sad when comparing that time with today.

And Dr Arroll agrees, warning of “longing for the way society used to be. After all, society didn’t used to be as accepting or diverse as it is now, and looking back nostalgically can gloss over the more insidious aspects of the past.”

What do you think? What do you miss about the past. Has South Tyneside changed for the better or do you long for the “good old days”?

Please get in touch with your thoughts.