My Recent Work

How two Lancashire literary legends met at an auction

The eight books had a price tag of £275. At first glance this seemed expensive but then I realised they had belonged to another famous Lake District author. They were the copies that had once belonged to the late Postman Pat creator John Cunliffe and included his personal annotations.

I was drawn to them because of fleeting encounters I’d had with both Wainwright and Cunliffe. Also I had worked as a journalist for the publisher of the guides, the Westmorland Gazette.

Alfred Wainwright in the f

REVIEW: I Should Be So Lucky

If you happened to be listening to a radio in the mid-to late-1980s there was no escaping the sounds of Stock Aitken Waterman.

You knew instantly when one of their records came on.

The trio and their Hit Factory were famous for their driving beats, tinkling instrumentation and soaring melodic hooks that wormed their way into your brain.

At the time, Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman had a tough time from the music press, who never took them seriously.

Yet it was hard to argue with SA

How I made Cary Grant’s heartbreaking double life into a drama

Cary Grant is, without question, one of the pre-eminent movie stars of the 20th century. To me, he is a cross between George Clooney and Tom Hanks. If you look at the figures, he topped the box office year after year. His films — North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief, The Philadelphia Story — were among the most watched in the world. What I never realised was that in 1966, at the age of 62, and at the height of his fame and powers as an actor, Cary Grant gave it all up to become a stay-at-home da

Eccentric literary giants shaped Westmorland Gazette - Journalism News from

The Westmorland Gazette is celebrating its 200th birthday this year with a series of events and exhibitions across its Lake District patch.

Here, freelance journalist and journalism lecturer Jeremy Craddock, who began his career there, describes how three eccentric and idiosyncratic literary giants helped shape the newspaper.

Poet William Wordsworth never intended to be a newspaperman but in 1818 he was talked into it by influential political figures in his beloved Lake District.

Although he

Lovely memories of when world famous writer Richard Curtis lived in Warrington

The Love Actually and Blackadder writer even brought comedian Rowan Atkinson to stay in the family home in Appleton.

Writer Jeremy Craddock takes up the story of when the Curtis family was in Warrington, with help from a chat with Barry Jones.

His dad Jack was Mr Curtis' senior chaffeur from his time working at Crosfields.

The Curtis family lived at Merricourt on Windmill Lane, Appleton, in the 1970s and early 80s when Richard’s father, Tony, was chairman of Crosfields.

Barry tells me his da

How Buck Ruxton committed a double murder

The case that appalled millions of newspaper readers worldwide began with the discovery of dismembered human remains in the Scottish Borders in 1935. It culminated in the execution of a charismatic and popular Lancashire doctor, Buck Ruxton, convicted of murdering his wife and his children's nanny. The landmark case is still remembered almost 90 years on because of the incredible forensic breakthroughs made by investigators. Some of these pioneering techniques are still in use today. A key aspec

How infamous Lancashire murder changed policing forever

Ruxton fell under suspicion when Scottish police saw a newspaper report of a young woman missing from Lancashire. It was Ruxton’s nanny, Mary. Acting on a hunch, the Chief Constable of Dumfriesshire called Lancaster police station. And so began the ground-breaking investigation which would send Ruxton to the gallows at Strangeways Prison on May 12, 1936.

The story of these Agatha Christie-era murders has been told many times in newspapers, magazines and true crime books. But these accounts rake

Tributes to Warrington's winner of New Faces who appeared with The Beatles

Nicky was best known for winning ITV’s New Faces in the 1970s. He died peacefully at home in Appleton Thorn with his family by his side on Monday, June 15, after a brave battle with cancer.

In a long career that began playing drums in bands in Warrington, he appeared at the Cavern in Liverpool with the Beatles, and at the London Palladium, as well as making many television appearances.

Nicky is survived by wife Edwina, daughter Phillippa, her partner Dave, and grandchildren Chloe, Tom, Ryan an

The rise and rise again of our seaside holidays

Can you hear me?

I’m writing to you from my holiday in Cornwall.

The weather’s been kind and we’ve made some sandcastles on the beach. Are you getting away this year? You are? Where are you going? Oh, very nice. Well, send me a postcard.

You might think the seaside holiday is a modern advent, well, modern as in the past hundred years or so.

Wealthy Romans living in Colchester are thought to have treated Mersea Island in Essex as a seaside resort.

Certainly until the mid-19th century a trip

Cumbria Has A Ten-year Anti-drugs Strategy

The county boasts various anti-drugs agencies, a community-wide drugs programme run by Morecambe Bay Health Authority, and a visionary Chief Constable in Colin Phillips, who is leading the fight both locally and in the national arena.

The government-appointed drug tsar Keith Hellawell's much-publicised ten-year strategy on drugs is about to come into force. How it will work at grass roots level in Cumbria will be revealed at a special meeting on July 10, attended by Sean McCollum, leader of Cum

Store Giants Aim For Market Town Trade

Booths is making a fresh bid to open a food store in Kirkby Lonsdale and has submitted a revised and scaled-down application to South Lakeland District Council following the failure of an earlier scheme.

Meanwhile, Safeway's efforts to trade in Carnforth come under the spotlight on Monday when Lancaster City Council considers plans for a store on Lancaster Road.

But despite massive support for the scheme from residents and traders, LCC's planning committee is set to refuse the application on t

How booking the Beatles helped pay for a great holiday to Vegas

Pete Rigby is now 76 and still lives in the same house on Grosvenor Avenue where a letter from Brian Epstein arrived all those years ago.

Dated July 17, 1962, it confirmed that John, Paul, George and original drummer Pete Best would appear at the Bell Hall in Orford three days later, on July 20.

In a characteristic Epstein flourish, the letter stated: “I would remind you that The Beatles’ spot is for a duration of one hour only.”

Bands usually played two 45-minute sets at Bell Hall.