‘I loved your idea of Left in Preston. I can’t draw and don’t consider myself to be creative, but did have something to say to the people of Preston. I was a little shy but last Friday night, after a few drinks, wrote down what I wanted to say.
I left this ‘letter’ on the docks several hours before the final Guild Proclamation. It seemed like an appropriate time. I know someone read it, when I returned in the afternoon it had had moved to the other side of the docks…that made me smile.’
My first visit to Preston was on a miserable day in late autumn. I don’t recall the year, but it was probably the late 1970s. I know it was late autumn as we were en-route to Blackpool to see ‘the lights’.
As dusk arrived we walked along the prom in the pouring rain, still full of expectation. As the darkness drew closer my brother asked a shopkeeper what time ‘the lights’ came on. ‘Come back next summer’ was the reply.
Apparently, we missed them by a day.
Besides my disappointment at missing the lights, my only other memory was how miserable Preston looked as we drove past flooded streets, windswept factories and towering dark chimneys.
In 1990 I paid my second visit, staying at the Moosehead Hotel in Fishergate Hill. I was soon to start a new job in the North West and Preston seemed a good geographical location. I needed to find a rented house – a shared terrace suited me fine. I had several years in Ribbleton and Fishwick. It was the friendliness of the people I enjoyed the most, closley followed by Northern beer served with a real head!
The Hesketh Arms became a second home!
After a while I migrated to Ashton. Once again, I found great people and, happily, a great local in the Lane Ends.
Over the past 20 years or so I’ve remained in or around Preston. These days it’s where I work too. It’s changed a lot of course. Many of the northern pubs I used to love have gone, or are trendy bars. It has a university and of course is now a city.
Of course there are downsides to any city and perhaps my older years mean I am more impressionable when reading of assaults and stabbings in the LEP. What has never really changed though is the warmth and hospitality of most Prestonians. I expect it will be a long while till I return to my southern roots.
Thanks you Prestonian, Enjoy the Guild.
From a southerner in residence.