Meet the Australia hitchhikers who are desperately trying to find long lost Blackpool Pete

Three friends decided to hitchhike to Australia in 1970 and on their way they met Pete, who joined them on their adventure. Now they are desperately trying to find him and are hoping readers can help....

By Claire Lark
Friday, 28th January 2022, 4:55 am

Sharon Carleton, John Albrecht and Peter Pearson, otherwise known as Sailor got drunk at a party in Earls Court 52 years ago - and decided to have an adventure.

So they did.

They headed to Australia, hitchhiking all the way through 26 countries and when they got to Turkey, they met Pete, who spoke about Blackpool, Grimsby and Cleethorpes - he could have been from any of the coastal towns but they do believe he settled in Lancashire when he returned to the UK in 1971.

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Hitchhikingh in India - barefoot too. Pictured from left are John Albrecht, Sharon Carleton, Peter Pearson aka Sailor - and Pete (far right). Are you Pete? Or do you recognise him?

Sharon, who in 1970 was known as Sharon Barron-Sullivan, said: “He was wandering with no particular place to go.

“We spread our Michelin map before him at The Pudding Shop in Istanbul and he nodded.

“He may as well join us as not.

“Wherever we went, it never quite came up to home standards for Pete.

Sharon Carleton and Peter Pearson (Sailor) when they arrived in Darwin, Australia

“At the Taj Mahal he informed us, “Yeah, it’s ok. But it’s not as good as Blackpool Tower”.

None of the beaches sparkling in the Pacific sunshine came close to Cleethorpes.

“And in a poem he gave me his homesickness was palpable: ‘The familiarity of home, Why venture away, Into the dark unknown, Friends all the time, Your washing on the line

“But where is Pete now? After hitch hiking 26,000 miles and through 24-different countries the four of us said goodbye, quite amicably, in Darwin. It was January 1971.”

John and Pete tended to hitchhike together and Sailor and Sharon made their way across the globe catching their lifts - it was easier.

They met up again in various places along the way.

Sailor and Sharon arrived in Darwin, from Dili, Timor on January 12 1971 and Pete and John the following week, on the 19th.

They all stayed in Darwin for a while to make money as they were completely broke when they landed - and then they said their goodbyes.

They are all in their late sixties and early seventies now.

John was an aeronautic engineer and spent some time in Australia and then lived all over the world finally settling in New Zealand.

Sailor also settled in New Zealand whilst Sharon stayed in Australia and became a TV and radio journalist. Sailor and I have kept in touch these 50 years,” said Sharon, “and John appeared out of the blue when he heard a short radio piece I had recorded about an incident on our travels, with Pete, in Flores.

Facebook can be a blessing.

“And now we want to find Pete but none of us can remember his surname!

“I mean really, a surname, when you’re living day and night with someone for months on end? Who needs that?

“We do now.”

While Sailor and John, coincidentally and after many travels around the world, both ended up in New Zealand, Sharon remained in Australia.

And they reckon Pete returned to his beloved Lancashire.

“The three of us, Sailor, John and I, are in contact again and none of us can agree on some of the more riveting details of our trip so we need Pete. Plus we’d all adore to just catch up.”

Despite living in an age of social media the friends are struggling to find Pete through the usual channels of Facebook and LinkedIn but they are finding it tricky without a surname.

They think it might have been Hurst or Hearst but are really not sure.

They’ve even been in touch with the National Archives in Canberra which has records of all incoming passengers but there was no Peter on the incoming flight on January 19 1971.

Do you know who Pete is, or are you Pete? The friends are hoping readers might be able to unravel the mystery. If you can help, please contact Sharon at [email protected]