It was sad to hear of the famous Waterloo bowling ground, in South Shore, being at risk. I hope its supporters win their campaign for more control and funds.
However, this did prompt happy memories from when Blackpool led the way in many sports and recreation – from its enormous Derby Baths, at North Shore, to the world renowned Tower and Empress Ballrooms.
I enjoyed them all close-up, as a young reporter on this newspaper. It was my first daily and it came as a shock having to work weekends. Still, this often involved helping the busy sports department.
On summer Saturday afternoons we had a reporter in the score-box at Blackpool Cricket Club and other league matches. There was also the international junior tennis tournament at South Shore. In winter there was the Seasiders’ soccer, of course, plus Fylde rugby and many other fixtures including Borough rugby league on Sundays.
It was great to be out the office and watching some good-class sport. Reporters were also often fed for free and, when the bar was open, it was similarly complimentary. Not a bad day out, when you’re being paid!
At the Waterloo they were particularly accommodating. A sheltered VIP balcony caught the sun and also offered free bar and buffet for tournament guests, sponsors and Press.
I recall one Blackpool mayor enjoying himself there – then having to be helped back to the civic limousine by a burly town-hall attendant. Back in those genial days, of course, we would never report such an unedifying spectacle.
Finally, we news reporters pitched in on late Saturday afternoons to assemble final reports and phoned in results, all compiled and sent down to our basement Press as vans waited outside - for the popular sporting Green newspaper.
Somehow there’s just not the same excitement today . . . simply switching on a smart phone.
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