Alan was quick off the mark

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ALAN Wilderspin was quick off the mark when we asked readers for recollections of their days as newspaper deliverers.

He has fond memories of handing out the dailies To fund his passion as a racing cyclist.

The 12 shillings and sixpence that he earned went on bikes and competitions.

This all stems from our recent story of Percy Walker, of Haswell Avenue in Hartlepool, who juggled the newspaper run with getting to school on time. It was in 1900 that Percy was a paper boy at R.Douglas’ newsagents in Musgrave Street in Hartlepool, next to the Gardener’s Arms.

Alan, now 78 and of Walpole Road in Hartlepool, responded and told us: “I started working for Charlie Litherland and he was well known in the trade. I used to get there for 5.45am and I used to have to knock Charlie up because he slept upstairs.

“You would end up covered in print and then you would have to go out the back to get a wash. At 6.15am, you would set off and it would take more than an hour to do my round in York Road and Rium terrace area, and all the way up Park Road.”

The money from his round funded Alan’s love of bike racing. On Bank Holidays, he would even combine the two within a day.

He explained: “I would compete in bike races and I would ride through to Richmond for contests.”

Alan used to spend a day competing at Richmond before travelling all the way back to Hartlepool to do his paper round - and then returning to Richmond before the next race.

He remembered: “Sometimes, there used to be a police officer at Skeeby Bank. One particular Bank Holiday, he stopped me and said ‘where are you off to.

“I had to explain that I was riding back to Hartlepool to do my paper round and then I was going to ride all the way back to Richmond again. He looked at me as if I was crackers!”