The Stranger in Skelmersdale

Yesterday I was ‘The Stranger in Skelmersdale.’ One day, 200 years after my precious book, of being taken on a walk round a nearby town that I hardly know at all.

“The Stranger in Liverpool” – my precious 1820 guide for visitors.

I remember the moment I was introduced to Skelmersdale.

It’s a summer evening in 1965 and we’ve come out for a drive after our tea in the brand new family car, a dark blue Ford Cortina, ELV 397C. We’ve travelled out from North Liverpool into the Lancashire countryside. All winding lanes and old churches, where the most modern thing in the landscape is us in our car, until we arrive at what I remember as the crest of a hill where we are looking down into the huge bowl of a building site landscape:

“What’s that Dad?”
“It’s a new town they’re building down there. It’s going to be called Skelmersdale.”

After that my memories are few. Of riding through the brand new place most days on a Ribble bus, on my way to Wigan Tech, as the 1970s begin. A few years later some friends lose their home in Melling as the M58 is finally, and more than a bit late, built through there to Skelmersdale. Then in more recent years some contacts and one visit through my work with the School for Social Entrepreneurs. So, not much and definitely not enough to claim to know the place.

Which is how come I turn up here, late November in 2017, as The Stranger in Skelmersdale. Continue reading “The Stranger in Skelmersdale”

The School for Social Entrepreneurs: Sylvia Pearson

Over the last ten years or so one of my quietly favourite things has been to work with the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Particularly with Sylvia Pearson and Lisa Mairah. I say quietly because I write very little about it, as this work has been about helping people get their enterprises going. Which is a delicate thing requiring quiet help as all of us involved are working inside people’s dreams. Something which Sylvia has always been particularly superb at doing.

Sylvia retired on Friday night at Blackburne House here in Liverpool. So here are my photographs as she begins a new phase of her life.

Well done and thank you Sylvia.
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Continue reading “The School for Social Entrepreneurs: Sylvia Pearson”