Bonfires and fun times in Clifton Avenue

David Sumner and his friends in Clifton Avenue, Leyland

David Sumner and his friends in Clifton Avenue, Leyland

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Ex-pat David Sumner has been reminiscing about his days living in Leyland before he relocated Down Under.

The 72-year-old lived at 13 Clifton Avenue until he was 16 before moving to Lancaster Lane, in Clayton-le-Woods.

He then moved to Australia in 2005 but returned to Leyland recently to catch up with old family and friends.

He said: “I drove up Clifton Avenue for a reminisce.

“The road was not paved, just dirt, which enabled us to have a bonfire in the “circle” at the top end of the avenue. Someone would make bonfire toffee and another parched peas and we threw potatoes in the fire to roast them.

“I can recall a huge bonfire with spent rockets bouncing off house roofs as they came down. Flip-flaps and bangers were thrown about to scare the girls. How we didn’t set fire to anything is a mystery.

“Bonfire night was a rare time when kids from the circle and us down the avenue played/mixed together. The local newsagent, Grahams, had a firework club where you could bank money in the months leading up to November 5 and the thrill of choosing the fireworks out of the boxes is something I can see now.

“After the avenue was covered in tarmac, we held bonfires on the (then) field at the back of our house.

“That field was an amazing place to play on and I spent a lot of time in the circular dug-outs left over from the anti-aircraft guns after the war.

“It was a long walk to school (Fox Lane) in all weathers and later going to the secondary modern (Wellfield).

“I know most of the names on the photo but I will just mention a few.

“On he back row on the left is Geoff Bannister and I am next to him. Geoff had brothers Frank and Derrick on the picture. Liela Pickelis (extreme right) was from Latvia.

“Marjorie Mee crouching in front lived at number 17 and now lives in Brisbane.

“The Parker twins (Pauline and Jacqueline) were always referred to as “the twins”.