LIFE had not been kind to Haydn Woollard when arrived in Padiham in 1995.
He was penniless, homeless and jobless. His afffluent world had fallen apart in the 1990 recession; his ambitions and dreams had been dashed and he felt he did not have a friend in the world.
New friendships, forged in pubs and clubs, changed how he lived, and now he has written an autobiographical account of his years in the town.
Mr Woollard acquired the nickname of the Padiham Don, a title he uses in “PadMad”, his recollections, as he says on the cover, of “sex, drugs, rock & roll and much else besides”.
It is a not a book for the faint-hearted, or the easily offended. It tells how he took over a disused working men’s club – once the British Legion – in exchange for a debt and what happened behind the scenes at the renamed Padiham Sports and Social Club. He recalls: “Little did I know, in a town like this, you needed to be a professor of physiology to survive, but it wasn’t that long before I realised what I was up against.”
The relative calm in the author’s life was punctured in 1987, with first an armed robbery, and then a fire at the club. Regulars at the club carried tables and buffets across the street so they could watch the inferno in comfort while drinking their beer. The club took on a different lease of life as a pop and crisps venue for young teenagers. It was not a money-making venture, but it made the Padiham Don feel rich, and that life was worth living.
The book is dedicated to the late Robert Coulson, known as Yogurt, who became a good and loyal friend and inspiration.
“PadMad”, by Haydn Woollard, is published by Rossendale Books, priced £9.99, and is available online at www.lulu.com