Sutton shopping centre to welcome celebrity guest as part of day of celebrations to mark 50th anniversary

Shopping centre bosses are stepping back in time to mark a special anniversary.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 9:16 am
Updated Friday, 12th November 2021, 5:35 pm

Idlewells Shopping Centre, in the centre of Sutton, is marking its 50th anniversary with a special 1970s-themed party tomorrow – including regular appearances by one of the biggest stars of the 1970s in Orinoco, star of TV show The Wombles and frontman of The Wombles band.

Orinoco’s presence has special significance, after The Wombles first visited the centre 50 years ago, to open a toy shop.

A centre spokesman said: “To commemorate our 50th year, we are throwing a special ’70s-themed birthday party on Saturday, November 13.

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Idlewells Shopping Centre, Sutton.

“We will once again welcome Orinoco, of The Wombles, to the centre, as well as a number of ’70s’ performers.

“We will also unveil a special Idlewells clock replica birthday cake, as well as hosting an exhibition from the Sutton Living Memory Group and a children’s birthday card workshop in Sutton Library.”

The centre was established in 1971 and takes its name from the nearby River Idle.

Chloe O’Donnell, centre manager, said celebrating the history and heritage of the centre is important for the town.

Womble Orinoco performed at Glastonbury Festival a decade ago - and will be appearing at Sutton's Idlewells Shopping Centre tomorrow.

She said: “Idlewells means so much to so many people, so we want the event to allow people to reflect, and look back on some special memories,

“In 1971, The Wombles were here to mark the opening of beloved toy shop TawToys, and of course, they are synonymous with the ’70s. Our performers will also fit into the feeling of nostalgia.

“Alongside the ’70s theme, we want the younger generations to feel part of the celebrations and to be able to learn more about our heritage – so our impressive replica clock cake, workshops and exhibition from the Sutton Living Memory Group should really allow people to immerse themselves in what makes Idlewells so integral to this town.

“We can’t wait to celebrate our 50th birthday with the local community and bring everyone together for such a landmark moment.”

Work under way to build Idlewells back in 1970.

Planned highlights tomorrow include:

The Wombles, appearing from 10-10.40am, 11-11.40am, 12.30-1pm, 2-2.40pm and 3-3.40pm. Roaming actors in 1970s’ fancy dress; Stilt walkers; A giant number 50 for photos and for people to write birthday messages on; A replica clock cake made by Kirkby-based Tiny Fox; A loop of old soundscapes.

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