Top nights out with unforgettable pals

SELFIE KING: An early selfie! New Year, 2003 (S).
SELFIE KING: An early selfie! New Year, 2003 (S).
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Welcome one and all to 2016. A whole new year dawns for every one of us.

Here in our column picture we see an early selfie from New Year 2003, after a great night out with our good friends and neighbours of four and a half decades Mick and Vicky Johnson.

Mick’s been capturing us on selfies since 1999 and here from the left is Vicky, my dear wife Ruth, “yours truly” and cameraman Mick. This was after a brilliant New Year’s Eve night out at our nearby North Valley Hotel, which sadly closed in 2010.

I recall another memorable New Year’s Eve night out as our intrepid foursome set off through bonnie Colne in 1979. First port of call is The Derby Arms Hotel, which is already packed out at 8-30pm.

Next up we arrive at The King’s Head Hotel, with all the usual regulars, including “Big Brian” Clark and “Happy Hartley” Calvert.

Now up to The Shepherd’s Arms Hotel where Ruth and Vicky dance along to Debbie Harry singing Blondie’s number one, “Sunday Girl”, which echoes into the frosty night.

Now along the main street to The Hole in the Wall Inn, with its famous hanging bucket in the back room for the leaky roof of the 1706-built public house.

Now we cross the road and arrive at The Red Lion Hotel, which has a good selection of great Colne characters. I look all around the crowded pub where cigarette smoke is hanging in the air like early morning mist. Why over by the door I see Jackie Penman and Terry Brown in deep conversation, while in the far corner Freddie Dean and Ronnie Baldwin are quietly singing, while outside I can hear “Big Bill” Needham shouting across the road to Harold “Noddy” Cooper.

Suddenly The Red Lion front door flies open and into the fray arrive Bob “Teddy Boy” Thompson and Bryan “Coco” Corbridge, followed by Matt Dally selling his “War-cry” Salvation Army newspapers.

Also arriving is Benny with his basket of Morecombe Bay shrimps and cockles and mussels. Then we see in the centre of the packed public house Harry Kay in his legendary white suit, who calls out: “Big Ben’s chiming. It’s now 1980!”

Then everyone’s linking up singing at the top of their voices: “Auld lang syne”.

To all readers a very happy and healthy 2016.