The passing of Jimmy Saville recently reminded me of the only time our paths crossed. It was on Chorley New Road, Bolton one Saturday lunch time back in the early Eighties. To set the scene we must go back one week earlier. The regular Saturday morning fourball of Ian Kennedy, Phil Wolstenholme, John Carmichael and myself had been played golf at Whittaker Golf in Rochdale. We decided on a few drinks after the game which turned into a few more drinks and to cut a long story short concluded with the four of us in deep trouble with our long suffering respective partners and wives.
The upshot was that the following Saturday morning game of golf was precluded by strict instructions to return directly home after the game, and not via any drinking emporium.
We played our game at Regents Park Bolton and not even stopping for a coffee afterwards dutifully made our way to our cars and tried to drive out onto Chorley New Road and then make our way home. Enter Mr Saville and 20K others running the Bolton Marathon up Chorley New Road and effectively blocking our exit for at least another hour.
We walked to the nearest pub and using the public phone (pre mobile phone days) called our respective golf widows to explain why we would be delayed. Granada Television were covering the event so proof (if proof was needed) was there for all to see.
We had seen Jimmy, resplendent in gold track suit jogging past and may have been heard to shout “you’ve definitely fixed it this time Jimmy”.
As we were then stranded in the pub we felt it would be impolite not to have a pint whilst there. However, once the crowd of runners had past we were dutifully on our way.