The other day I was surprised and flattered to be invited to St Mary’s College to discuss with sixth formers how Blackpool has changed over years.
This may have to do with me just publishing a humorous memoir about life beside the seaside or, more likely, because their teacher was married to a former landlord at my local, the Saddle Inn at Great Marton.
“You’ve not lived here long enough,” She Who Knows warned, “you weren’t even born here.”
This was true, but got me thinking.
What struck me most when first coming here as a reporter, in the late 1970s, was how proud locals were of their lives here and the resort – still desperately busy but past its peak.
There was a lot of industry and employment; local firms ploughed money back into the area, while shrewd businessmen ran the resort, though not necessarily always to everyone’s advantage. What was more, most people owned their homes or wanted to and mixed with neighbours at stores, post offices, banks, cafés and pubs.
After a few years I left to work overseas.
Coming back in the mid-80s as a sub-editor I found my old haunts little changed and good friends still here. However, Britain had altered dramatically, and this stretch of the Fylde coast with it.
I was lucky to get a home, with house prices soaring, but almost made penniless by a mortgage rate of 15 per cent. Many left their homes and businesses, too, in a harsh economic wind of change. The asset strippers took over, making our former wheeler-dealers look like saints.
Today, I would tell youngsters, we’re emerging with a new-look resort and coast. Being proud of it and ourselves makes all the difference. The town’s motto is Progress, but don’t forget our other priority ‘P’.
So, let’s progress with pride.
* For Roy’s book, Bright Lights & Pig Rustling published this month, visit www.royedmonds-blackpool, Amazon or stores.