Former Royal Marine drew on experience from growing up in Padiham pub to serve his country in some of world's worst trouble spots
Andy Salmon courageously served queen and country in the world’s worst trouble spots, but Padiham provided one of his toughest challenges.
The former Royal Marines commandant general lived in the town, where his father was the publican of The New Black Bull in the 1970’s.
Salmon, who is returning to Clitheroe next Wednesday (February 12th) to reflect on an emotional personal journey, said: “Experiencing the poverty, brutality and hardness of Padiham provided me with a fundamental life education in understanding how people are.
“We were a middle-class family from the south – it was a huge shock going there. It was a very rough town, but the people were generous,
salt of the earth.”
He added: “I drew from those many experiences, meeting and living alongside those people in Padiham when I had to make decisions of great responsibility as a general in war.”
Salmon’s father had quit his job as a sales manager for HP Sauce when he took charge of the Mill Street public house. And the ex-Royal Marine chief sang in the choir at St Leonard’s Church while studying at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School.
Andy added: "“The pub was spit and sawdust, no carpets, a few sticks of furniture and there was a lot of fighting.
“Dad barred 65 people in the first month – I counted them because I did my homework at the foot of the stairs.
“My father was an incredibly determined guy though and he stamped out the bad behaviour in the pub. He set about changing the whole culture of the pub, making it a family place to visit.”
Salmon will guide the audience through his life, beginning with a happy spell at Clitheroe Grammar School, then serving in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, and three life changing tours of Iraq. Salmon, who was the last British general to serve in Iraq, said: “My life has felt like a Boy’s Own Story at times.
“It will be a mix of storytelling, drama and reflection - and I’ll be singing three songs that reflect poignant times in my life.”
The performance is a very moving one and the take home message is one of resurrection, redemption and hope. Salmon added: “I never felt particularly religious when I was younger but now my faith is very important to me.
“A spiritual faith has run through my life and saying a little prayer and asking for help when you need it, generally, has helped me out of some tight spots.
“When you are faced with people getting killed in a war, and it is an insecure, dangerous environment, then you do think about what the world means and who is looking after you.
“I believe there is a spirit that looks after all of us.”
* Andy Salmon, Journey Through Conflict, February 12th, Grand Theatre, Clitheroe, 01200 421599 www.thegrandvenue.co.uk