Anti-bullying campaigner pens new book set amidst the rolling Pendle countryside
Dave Gregson's childhood visits to Pendle are as evocative now as they ever were.
"Walking around the dry stone walls of Nelson, climbing Pendle Hill, staying with my grandma's house..." says Dave, now 47. "I have really vivid memories of the area and so, when it came to writing my latest book, I used that as a setting for stories which reflected the essential nature of the characters, who worked to overcome issues in life with positivity and strength."
A disability rights and anti-bullying campaigner as well as being an author of both adult and children's fiction, Dave himself hails from Harrogate and was raised in Wetherby, but his spiritual home remains on the western side of the Pennines.
Titled The Tales of Lanehouse, his latest book harks back to his familial ties to Pendle, more specifically Trawden, and was inspired by his memories and family pictures of their time in East Lancashire, where his father grew up having been born in Burnley.
"In lockdown, I started to cast my mind back to my childhood," explains Dave, who is a member of the National Autistic Society having been diagnosed as autistic at the age of 44. "My newest book is a collection of stories with a feel-good factor which shows Trawden as the beautiful picturesque village and community it is.
"Many illustrations were taken, in many parts, from picture postcards and memory," he adds. "It's a beautiful area and region and the book is about, in a word, life. I wanted to tell these positive stories because they contain good memories for me."
Having been targeted by bullying at a previous employer, Dave subsequently won a tribunal against them and has since committed himself to sharing messages of anti-bullying through his voluntary and not-for-profit work and through his writing. He has committed to funnelling some of the proceeds from the book towards his anti-bullying activism.
"I wanted to do something that wasn't so much about me in my situation, but about helping others," says Dave. "I had issues at school and so I wanted to tell a feel-good story; an escape, like the stories told by the fireplace by my grandmother.
"Stories like that can be powerful.