A Word In Your Ear - August 27, 2015

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Former Gazette colleague Dave Hadfield, a respected rugby league reporter for The Independent and Sky TV, is having a book launch in Blackpool next month.

They’re calling him Bolton’s Bill Bryson for his thoughtful and humorous style.

We first met on rural weekly papers in Shropshire, then later worked together on newspapers in Hong Kong and Australia.

I rather held on to Dave’s coat-tails - him doing the adventurous exploration then providing a safe berth for me later. He was an inveterate traveller, even as a school boy then undergraduate, hitch-hiking about the globe.

On The Independent he covered matches across the world, also writing entertaining books between dodging tear gas in Papua New Guinea or savouring half-time pies at Wigan.

He’s semi-retired at his family home in Bolton but still gamely travelling. Now, however, it’s not by jumbo jet but on his free bus pass.

Dave’s latest book, entitled ‘Route 63’ (which is his age), chronicles an epic tour around England by local buses.

He visited the Fylde recently for a section of Route 63 . I greeted him at Blackpool’s oldest pub, The Saddle Inn, before sharing a Thai meal, also in Great Marton. Then I saw him off - in the rain - upon a bus to Preston.

At heart, I was always more a stay-at-home character. After working in London, then overseas, I returned to the Gazette for one summer - but stayed 25 years.

Now that I’m also semi-retired, there are few regrets and I hope Dave hasn’t either - since his journeying found a well-rounded final destination.

No doubt he’ll tell me on September 9 - at his public book launch in Wetherspoon’s latest pub, the aptly named Velvet Coaster on New South Promenade.

After life’s thrilling ups and downs, we all need somewhere to feel at home. Where better than friendly Lancashire and its beautiful coast?

• For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.