Over the past twenty-five years Peter Shakeshaft, and his wife Maureen, have interviewed many past and present Freckleton Residents, and recorded their recollections of village life from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. The interviews, combined with local newspaper reports and private correspondence, have enable a hitherto unseen picture of Freckleton to emerge from otherwise rapidly fading shadows.
In her passport Victoria Wood listed her occupation as 'entertainer' - and in stand-up and sketches, songs and sitcom, musicals and dramas, she became the greatest entertainer of the age. Those things that might have held her back - her lonely childhood, her crippling shyness and above all the disadvantage of being a woman in a male-run industry - she turned to her advantage to make extraordinary comedy about ordinary people living ordinary lives in ordinary bodies. She wasn't fond of the term, but Victoria Wood truly was a national treasure - and her loss is still keenly felt.
Victoria had plenty of stories still to tell when she died in 2016, and one of those was her own autobiography.
It has been 30 years since Noel Fitzpatrick graduated as a veterinary surgeon, and that 22-year-old from Ballyfin, Ireland, is now one of the leading veterinary surgeons in the world. The journey to that point has seen Noel treat thousands of animals - many of whom were thought to be beyond help - animals that have changed his life, and the lives of those around them, for the better.
If the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller Listening to the Animals was about Noel's path to becoming The Supervet, then How Animals Saved My Life is about what it's like to actually be The Supervet. Noel shares the moving and often funny stories of the animals he's treated and the unique 'animal people' he has met along the way. He reflects on the valuable lessons of Integrity, Care, Love and Hope that they have taught him - lessons that have sustained him through the unbelievable highs and crushing lows of a profession where lives are quite literally at stake.
This unusual history draws on original letters, newspaper cuttings and a remarkable complete set of meeting minutes to set out the story of the union, and in doing so lifts the lid of a host of colourful characters who defined the place of Fylde as well as the fast paced time in which they lived.