My mum was born in Shoreditch, London in January 1936. It makes her a proper Cockney, born within the sound of Bow Bells and all that.
She can still turn on her London accent in spite of decades of living in the North.
And a regular return to her home city is a must. If not every year, at least every few years.
She supports The Gazette’s On Track To The Capital campaign for the return of a direct rail link between Blackpool and London.
So do I. So do thousands of others. And you’ve still got time to sign - the forms have to be back with us by Monday.
My ma gets a spring to her step in the capital - just as I do in my own native Liverpool.
It’s easier to get to Liverpool - although I still had to make two changes the last time I went by train.
But when you’re getting on a bit, and bits are wearing out, legging it over the bridge at Preston to cross platforms isn’t so easy carting cases, sticks and shopping bags.
Coach travel? National Express offers a great service but the journey is oh so dreary by road. Rail cuts through the countryside.
We miss the old direct link to London. Ten years since it was lost.
I may have a vested interest in supporting our campaign to restore the direct connection but there are other reasons why I’ve signed up to The Gazette’s On Track To The Capital campaign.
By May 2016 a fully electrified route between Preston and Blackpool – or, as I prefer to put it, Blackpool and Preston – will link us up to the west coast main line proper, the key rail arterial route to London and Scotland.
In fact, why stop at a direct connection to London? Why not lobby for one to Edinburgh or Glasgow with the Scots still loyal to Blackpool? Preston, as ever, is the key changeover stop for both.
It took a trip to the National Railway Museum in York - a museum itself under threat of cutbacks (sign their petition too) to remind me of Britain’s rail status in the world.
We pioneered the first steam locos, for rail and tramways. One of the earliest trials of electrification involved the Lancaster to Heysham line.
Blackpool deserves decent rail links. It needs more than a second rate rail service. It needs to be more than an also-ran resort while Brighton rides high on its proximity to London. And that’s what I call a capital campaign!