AFTER our Looking Back feature on Bonfire Night we were in contact with a former Bolton man who ‘penned’ his own memories.

Norman (Norrms) McNamara, was born in Astley Bridge and lived on Eden Street. He attended both Holy Infants Primary and St Anne’s Harwood and left school in 1973.

He left Bolton for Torquay two decades ago and 10 years ago was diagnosed with dementia. Not content to sit on his hands, he established Purple Angel an organisation to help people worldwide suffering with dementia by appointing global ambassadors to help out.

Here are Norman’s memories:

November, 1967 – The Day after Bonfire Night in Bolton

“As I opened the curtains the morning after bonfire night, I always remember as a child the first thing I saw was the smog hanging over the rooftops as if all the chimney smoke had gone into the air and stuck on the roof of the sky.

“It came down in swirls as the wind blew and you could almost see the remnants of the night before still flickering in the wind.

“As I opened the window, the smell of old damp burnt wood hit me and my mind raced back to the night before when so many families came together and enjoyed a wonderful night that brought the community together, where the sky was lit up with exploding rockets as children gazed in awe at the wonderment of it all, their cheeks rosy red from being too near the bonfire.

“As I headed out that morning, down our yard and through the back gate all expected to see in our backstreet was a heap of old ashes, but no!

“Do you remember there was always one person who wanted to keep the fire going?

There he was, stood proud, still poking the fire in the hope it would last forever, and it was usually an adult from a nearby house!

“As I walked past on my way to school, I took one last look at the burning embers on the cobbles, which had once stood magnificent, tall and proud as a wooden art form in itself awaiting its execution the night before.

“The hours of hard work and sweat that had gone into collecting ‘bommey’ wood and building it, only for it to be set on fire and watch as the flames danced and flickered up towards the Guy Fawkes on top.

“To see it as it was the morning after, was a sad sight to see, knowing it would all be gone by the time I came home from school, all washed away off the cobbles with just a burnt stain left behind and the odd mattress spring in the gutter.

“Still, it never stopped me getting excited about the next ONE!”