'Huge success' as crowds turn out to celebrate 50 years of Idlewells in Sutton

Idlewells Shopping Centre in Sutton celebrated its fiftieth anniversary on Saturday with a day of 1970’s-themed activities and special guests.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 3:55 pm

One of the biggest stars of the 1970s, Orinoco, star of TV show The Wombles and frontman of The Wombles band, was on hand to take pictures with shoppers throughout the day.

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

The event was hailed a ‘huge success’ with visitors of all ages enjoying the day of seventies-themed activities to celebrate 50 years since the opening of the shopping centre.

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Orinoco and a host of seventies performers entertained the guests

Chloe O’Donnell, speaking on behalf of the Idlewells team, said: "The day was a huge success, with footfall reaching the same level as that of the last Saturday before Christmas in 2020, which is fantastic!

"The Wombles entertained all ages, with our youngest visitor being a 4 week old baby and our oldest being a 92 year old!

"Many children who visited to see The Wombles in 1971, returned as adults with their own children – and even grandchildren – in tow.

"It was such a joy to chat with them and hear their stories from the first time around.”

Orinoco entertained the crowds while shoppers wrote their birthday messages on the board.

The Idlewells management team also unveiled a special birthday cake which was a replica of the Idlewells, made by the talented Tiny Fox Vegan Bakes, alongside an exhibition from the Sutton Living Memory Group and a children’s birthday card workshop in the town’s library.

Chloe continued: "We cut the Idlewells clock replica cake after it had been on display, much to the amazement of many visitors who didn’t realise it was a cake!

“The wonderful Tiny Fox Vegan Bakes, based in Kirkby, did a fantastic job making it for us and a big thanks to our visitors who helped us to eat it.

“In addition, we filled up our chalkboard 50 with messages from shoppers, gave out polaroid photos and also, thanks to Sutton Living Memory Group, had an exhibition of Idlewells through the ages on display for visitors to look at.

“We have celebrated our socks off, what else can we say other than thank you!”

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