Hi, I'm Eric born on the 26th May 1952 in Whittle Drive Ormskirk. I am the sixth of ten children; I have five brothers
and four sisters. I don't remember a lot about my younger days except that I was quite happy.
I started school at Greetby Hill infants,
I remember my first day, my sisters took me and I did not like it at all, the school that is. After all the crying I did finally settle
I moved up to the Junior School when I was 11 in 1963, one of my best school memories was the annual sports day; I especially enjoyed
the Sack race and always did well in it. I can not think of anything else about school except that I seemed to always be in trouble.
I enjoyed the school holidays mostly as it meant I could go off playing all day. We would go bird nesting at the aerodrome near Burscough
or go to the Dump as we called it, which also had a pond, we would go looking for frogs or newts and spend a lot of time there. At
the dump people would throw their unwanted items there, e.g. old prams, bikes and such like. With the prams we would use the wheels
to make a trolley and ride around the estate, some of the trolleys were quite elaborate. I remember one summer we took an old two
man canvas canoe all the way to Scarisbrick to the Leeds Liverpool canal on our bikes which was a five mile hike (how we did it I
We would spend all day there and if we got into any problems it was a case of knocking on someone's door which we often
did. It was great fun going through so many different locks along the canal. At the end of the day we would leave the canoe hidden
in the overgrowth until one day it had completely disappeared. We also spent a lot of time fishing, I remember catching my first perch,
I was absolutely made up, and I took it home and ate it. There were plenty of woods there to wonder in and out of, we would go nesting
or collect conkers, we always had our catapults with us, we would often fire at the birds, into the water or at some old windows especially
down at the aerodrome as there were plenty of old houses there.
Bonfire night on Scott- estate was quite an exciting time, we used
to collect old rubbish and trees for several weeks for the Bonfire and there were a few different gangs that would try to rob our
'Bommie'. If that happened it meant that we would have to go around and rob other people's Bonfires, some of the lads involved were
Kenny, Willie, Ronnie, Ian, Billy, Steven, Michael, and Ron Berry with whom I once got into a fight with, it was on his back door
and his dad came out and stopped us fighting.
Ron was probably one of my best mates at that time. We would spend a lot of time on the
playing fields at the back of our house and as soon as we came home from school we would be there playing football or some other game.
I remember we would make our own kites, some would be box kites, I also remember we would play French arrows which consisted of an
18inch cane with a point at one end and a set of flights at the other. I remember our Eddie throwing a dart at me and it sticking
in my leg (ouch!!). Another game we played as kids was called split the kipper, two people stood opposite each other with their legs
apart and you would throw a knife between each others legs. Other games we used to play were football, cricket and rounders. We also
had a vespa scooter that we would play with on the field; we would race up and down all day. On our playing field there were some
changing rooms which were old railway carriages; anyway, one night we broke into them so that we could play cards, then all of a sudden
we heard a siren going. It was the police. The grass was wet and they crashed into the changing rooms, we all scampered. They made
a lot of enquires I think we got away with that in the end.
I remember I started smoking at a very early age I think I was nine, (encouraged
by one of my sisters), anyway one day I was rooting through my dads pockets looking for a cigarette or even dog end (that's a half
smoked cigarette he often saved them there as I often see him taking one out), he didn't have any but instead I came across a wad
of notes. so I took one thinking he wouldn't miss it, on my way to school I called into the shops to buy some sweets, I remember the
shop keeper giving me my sweets and saying that I should pick up my change after school so that I would not lose it, so I did. I called
back after school and the shop keeper told me that my mum had called in during the day, when I got home there was hell to play with.
dad came home from the pub one night I think he had been gambling, he emptied his pockets in front of us kids and there was quite
a bit of money there, he started to share it out amongst us when suddenly he turned to me and said you'll be getting nowt, I suppose
that was to teach me about stealing, (I think it nearly worked!!).
Over the years I had a few belts off my dad and on some occasions
off my mum too. I remember in the school holidays the family going to Alton towers and Butlins. Ron Berry also came with us to Butlins.
It was really good there as we were allowed to stay out late.
I look back now and wonder how we all lived in our house as it only had
three bedrooms and there were ten children, maybe Colin and Douglas had moved out. Up stairs there must have been a boy's room and
a girl's room and also my mums & dads room. I do remember my gran staying and the dining room being made into a bedroom for her. At
that time we had no emersion heater to heat the hot water only a back- boiler. In the summer we would heat the water with a water
heater in the outside wash-house and take the water up stairs in buckets and left it on the landing until there was enough for a bath,
us three boys would use the same water as we were not that old. I remember our John, Eddie and myself in the back bedroom, one night
I was pushing our John out of the bedroom onto the landing and he fell straight into one of the buckets of boiling water, did he scream,
I think he stayed in hospital for a couple of weeks, I remember him coming home with a load of toys (lucky thing).
When ever we younger
boys get together and talk about the old days I think the main topic that comes up is when our Colin used to bring home a girlfriend
for tea and we would all get a belt off of him as he thought that we all ate like animals and sniffled far too much, snotty kids he
would call us.
When ever we used to watch late night TV and there happened to be a scary movie on, there would always be a fight on
the stairs as you didn't want to be the last one into bed after it had finished.
There was always a fight to get the seat nearest to
the television and if you needed to use the loo you would always say 'nobody get my seat as it's saved'. When mum and dad were out
the girls always thought they were in charge that resulted into more bickering and fighting.
I moved on up to Wigan Road School we
would walk too school it was a three or four mile walk to get there, I met up with Dave and Malcolm Wrathall.
I joined in all the sports
and quite liked the cross country running, I didn't do very well at school and I used to bunk off a lot. The only lessons I did enjoy
were wood-work and metal-work.
I remember hiding on top of one of our chicken sheds at home until mum went to work and then I would
go into the house as the door was never locked.
On a couple of occasions when I was playing truant I would go to Liverpool with Malcolm
to queue up for Liverpool F.C tickets and watch them play.
We would regularly go to the game and would all meet up at Ormskirk train
station and travel to the game together.
In my second year at the school it became mixed after being all boys. I don't know whether
this was better or worse. One day coming home from school going down the pads I was crossing a narrow foot bridge and caught the handle
bars of my bike on one of the railings went head over heels and knocked one of my front teeth out. I also remember starting judo classes
and attended for a couple of years and also joined a boxing club in Burscough, I used to go there once a week (I think it was a Tuesday
I got into a few scrapes at school but nothing too serious. On one occasion a few of us went down to Wally's house where I
had my first experience of glue sniffing, I didn't like it one bit it felt like going to the dentists and I hated going there.
on when I was in the Merchant Navy I did try marijuana, it was better than the glue sniffing although I only tried it a couple of
During the summer holidays I used to help mum and dad pick on the farm. We used to pick peas, beans, beetroot and potatoes.
On Saturdays I used to help Bill Huyton on his farm, I used to have to muck out the pigs. In the winter his wife used to make us coffee
with rum in it, which as a kid was nice. I had a morning paper round plus I delivered papers in the evening after school. Another
way to make some money was to go and collect empty pop bottles as they had a three penny deposit on them. On occasions we used to
go to the back of the shop and helped ourselves to the empties until the shop keeper got wise.
Other jobs I used to do were to help
the milkman and the bread man to make their deliveries.
At school I remember getting the slipper from the gym teacher; I also got the
rulers edge across the back of my hand by Mr Posenbelly as we used to call him. I think the best day of school was the day I left,
what a day.
As a teenager we would go round to all the youth clubs. I remember going to Skelmersdale, we would get a couple of bottles
of cheap wine to drink then go to the youth club, I remember Alex Boyer diving over a table-tennis table to 'Head butt' some bloke,
that's just some of the things we would get up to as a gang of youths hanging around Ormskirk.
I used to have a Lambretta 125 with
a few mirrors and what-nots on it. I did enjoy the music mostly Motown and Northern Soul which I still like to listen to today. I
suppose you could call me a mod! I do remember coming off my scooter a couple of times, one time I ended up breaking my leg, I got
it trapped under a car and it was a job to get it out, I thought I could get away before anybody saw, I could not stand on it so I
waited for the ambulance to arrive to take me to the hospital. The hospital was great. I used to order take- a ways and get a taxi
to deliver them to me on the ward; a few other patients would also order some food.
On one occasion at the hospital I asked one of
the nurses if I could have some pain killers, she said I would have to wait. So I asked her for the pay phone. I rang 192 for the
hospital phone number with that I rang the number and I asked to be put through to ward three (the ward I was on) and I spoke to the
staff nurse down in the office down the end of the ward I told her that I was Eric Finch from down the ward, and that could I possible
have some pain killers. I could here her laughing I'm glad she saw the funny side of it, but I did get my tablets. Later on I went
out with that nurse for a couple of months.
Nights out in Ormskirk were pretty much the same night after night On one particular occasion
I went out drinking with Paul Cutmore, at the end of the night we felt a bit hungry and decided to go for a Chinese, I remember we
had just about finished our meal when a lad came in shouting the odds and started a fight, when the police arrived it all quietened
down and for our trouble we decided to pinch a bottle of Soya sauce (as you do when you have had enough to drink.) Later on that night
the police picked us up and took us to the police station, they charged us for being drunk and disorderly at first and then they found
a bottle of sauce stuffed in-between the back seat of the police car so they charged us with theft as well and we ended up in court.
I remember the headlines in the newspaper it stated WE DID IT FOR A LAUGH. I was also a member of the Boy Scouts and we went on a
few field trips which I enjoyed.
After Id left school I started work at James Mercer's with our Doug learning to be a heating engineer
and plumber, I always used to go home and tell mum how he used to bawl and shout at me and give me all the crap jobs. Although I enjoyed
my job after eighteen months I was getting fed up at home so I decided to join the Merchant Navy.
I did my six week training in Basingstoke
and met up with Dave Wrathall again which was a nice surprise. I enjoyed this job and on some of the trips I cruised around the Mediterranean
and sailed to America three times. I also went to Montego Bay in Jamaica, Venezuela, South America and some of the small West-Indies
On one of the trips to America I was put in jail in New Orleans for being a bit drunk. Another time we were not allowed to
go back to our ship on the Mississippi river as the water was so rough.
A 'Taffy' shipmate of mine lost his life in Spain. He borrowed
a scooter and wrapped it round a tree; he was from Blackwood in Wales. I stayed in the navy for a couple of years but left because
I felt I was loosing contact with my mates back home.
I started working at Tesco's and after four hours I realised that was enough,
I found work at an upholstery firm in Burscough and remember going to Southampton for some training, and I have now been an upholsterer
for around thirty years.
I remember a trip down to Cardiff to see our Colin, he was in the middle of building himself a yacht, and
he was into sailing in a big way. I did all the upholstery for him and in return I was allowed to go on her maiden voyage, I don't
think our Colin was ready for me as I used to drink a lot. On the return journey I caught some mackerel; they were cooked and eaten
within ten minutes. One day Colin had gone below to get some sleep, he left me and his friend sailing the yacht and said to wake him
if we get into any trouble, three or four hours later we were heading straight into a big liner path, it kept blowing its horn so
after a while we thought we had better wake Colin, he was not best pleased, the air went blue to say the least.
I moved from Ormskirk
and went to live in Blackpool with Mr and Mrs Griffiths, who were to later
become my in-laws, there I found myself a job at Hams upholstery.
I worked there for a few years and also got an evening job in a bar so that I could meet people.
While I was living in Blackpool I
remember I had a night out with Paul Cutmore, it ended up with us having a fight with some lads. I don't know what started it as Paul
was already at it when I got there, I just happened to look over a church wall and saw these people fighting and got stuck in, I did
not know it was Paul until a few minutes later, we came away with a few cuts and bruises but had a good laugh that night.
dating Jill for a year or so, I remember going to watch Freddie Starr with her. We had some good times in Blackpool but we later split
up and I went back to live in Ormskirk although I still called in to see her family on my trips to Blackpool, some years later we
got back together and married on 3rd March 1984.
We lived in Blackpool for a while and I commuted from Blackpool to Birkdale. I was
a partner in an Upholstery firm with Ronnie Mac, which ran for about ten years. After which I went self-employed started up as Nayland
Upholstery for about twenty years, before I started in my present employment at TNT. I still keep my hand into upholstery.
and I moved to Burscough so that I was nearer to work. Jill got a couple of jobs, working behind the bar in a couple of local pubs.
We have two lovely children Lisa and Leanne.
We lived in Burscough for eighteen months before moving to Colchester, where we bought
an old rundown cottage which we have renovated a couple of times. Sometimes I think Jill thought we were living in a builder’s yard,
but we were really pleased with the end result. We lived about sixteen years in the cottage, in the latter years we had some good
family holidays including Australia, America, Austria, and also Portugal, it was a sad day when we finally split up and left the cottage.
We had a lot of good memories in that cottage. I have since moved to a lovely bungalow at Dedham near Colchester which I am in the
middle of refurbishing.
One of my main hobbies throughout my life has been my dog Rascal. I got her as a six month old greyhound pup
and started training her at ten months. One of the first things to teach her was to chase, I did that by tying one of the kid's teddies
to a long pole and as I spun the pole round slowly she started to follow it one way and then the other so that her muscles would build
up together. I let her catch it from time to time. Finally I got her to run round a race track, what a big thrill that was. I raced
rascal at Bury St.Edmonds and Milldenhall stadium the latter being a hundred mile round trip. Rascal never let me down, she didn't
always win but she always tried her best. I got most of her races put onto a couple of videos. Later on I bred her with a dog that
won the English derby. She had nine pups and lost three at birth. I ended up with six dogs, I sold four of them and kept two. The
biggest one died when he was three and Megan the runt of the litter is living with our Lisa. I lost rascal just after I had moved
into my new home. I had just shut the patio door and she must have seen something in the back garden, the next thing I herd was a
great big thud. I went into the dining room to find her in a right mess. Five minutes later she died, that really upset me.
been working at Stansted Airport for a global logistics firm for the last three years and I am still enjoying my job. There is a good
group of people here, which have helped me to get through my bad times without knowing it.
What the future holds for me god only knows,
at the moment I am doing well and I am happy with my life.