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I was a member from 1976 until 1981 when I left to re-join the Royal Marines. For a brief while I took the Membership Secretaries job from John Wade. The other members that I can remember are Mark Greenwood (nick name Prof) from the town of Todmorden. Stephen or Steven Roberts again from Todmorden and Chris Carpenter who hailed from the town of Stockport in Greater Manchester. From the town of Hayfield near me in Derbyshire, Martin Stewart, who sadly passed away a few years ago and whom Alan Fawcett named Headbanger. Dave Walby who was a friend of Alan’s from Padiham. Mike Rogers from the Manchester District of Northenden. A gentleman called Andy Smith. Two brothers from Preston who I think were called Howarth. I have very vague memories of a member who looked just like Cliff Richard and incidentally was a Bus Driver, sorry no name. Nicholas Clarke (Nick Name Cag) from Doncaster, Tony Moulds (Mott) and Bill Whittaker. From my home town of New Mills, Stephen Heery, Peter Hibbert, Tony Hibbert, James Potts and Neil Hyde. Steven Sienkiewick, who if I remember rightly came from Preston. Again vague memories of a member called Derek Orregio, he was the only black member that I can remember. Memories of Graham Barlow who was the Treasurer of Northern Counties, he used to live in London. Not forgetting Gerald Day from Burnley who used to supply our Coaches. These are all the names from what for me were Glory years that I remember fondly.
On a completely different matter I can very clearly remember standing in the Stretford End at Old Trafford ( Man United) in 1985. There was group from Dore/Totley who were stood in front of me and one of them came up to speak to me as he remembered me from the Counties.
If my memory is correct we used to meet at Manchester Victoria Station at around 18.30. One Grand Scottish that I can remember was supposed to set off at 15.30 on a Good Friday so as to be in time to see one of the services that went to Wick or Thurso. The coach got held up by a rally of some kind and we did not set off until 18.00. My second to last loco was 26039 which we missed, as it had already left for either Wick or Thurso. I never did see it so I am still a first set Virgin. On this trip my old friend Martin Stewart wore a very badly ripped pair of jeans and Nicolas Clarke (Cag) ripped them into a pair of shorts. Martin Stewart tried to strangle Cag. We, well I, had to buy him a new pair. I lost track of Martin and his death shocked me. It was John who told me of this and I am deeply ashamed of myself for not keeping in touch with Martin. Martin was a proper Spotter and I will have to go and visit where his Ashes are spread.
I used to sit at the back of the coach near to Alan, Mark Greenwood and Stephen Robson, both from the town of Todmorden. I always had my big cassette playing music from the 60s and70s and a flask of boveril. I can also remember when I first got into photography and did struggle at first. Other members used to sing “Trotter where’s your camera”. I used to help John out in selling the Counties Publications at Works Open Days.
Another memory was an over-night London Trip which stopped at Toton on the way there. I can still remember the coach limping in to Victoria Bus Station-Trip over. Also bunking around Depots in the middle of the Night.