Tyne & Wear

Tyneside remembers US President Jimmy Carter's visit 40 years on

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Media captionThe huge crowds greeting President Carter made it "a day to remember"

It is 40 years since US President Jimmy Carter visited Tyneside on his first foreign trip.

He greeted an 80,000-strong crowd at Newcastle Civic Centre with the words "Haway the lads" to deafening cheers.

President Carter wanted to recruit people for an exchange programme between the north-east of England and his home in Atlanta, Georgia.

His visit on 6 May 1977 is being remembered and celebrated with film footage and talks at the civic centre.

Image caption President Carter was cheered on by thousands when he arrived at Newcastle Civic Centre on 6 May, 1977
Image caption The 39th US president won over the crowds with his quick wit

Mr Carter's wife Rosalynn had set up the Friendship Force to give people in different countries the chance to stay in each others' homes.

In July 1977, hundreds of people from the region jetted off to Atlanta, among them former BBC Look North television presenter Mike Neville.

'Total, utter thrill'

He said: "Few of us had been to America before - also we were on a jumbo jet and one had never landed at Newcastle Airport before, which was a thrill in itself.

"It was a buzz, I don't think anybody slept the night before. It was just a total, utter thrill.

"The reaction when he got off the plane in America was unbelievable, the crowd cheered and screamed."

Democrat Mr Carter became the 39th president when he was elected in 1976.

He chose to visit Tyneside just a few months in to his term. He left office in 1981.

Image caption A Democrat from Georgia, Mr Carter was elected president in 1976 and left office in 1981
Image caption In July 1977, almost 300 people from the North East jetted off to Atlanta as part of the exchange programme

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