A SOAP legend who made Hartlepool his second home is returning to town to say thank you to those who helped him back into the limelight.
Bruce Jones, who played Les Battersby in Coronation Street, has been a regular visitor to Hartlepool in recent years where he is looked after by town publicist Paul “Goffy” Gough.
Bruce, who spoke candidly to the Mail about his problems with depression after being axed by the ITV show, is now back in the limelight having done well in the last series of Celebrity Big Brother.
And while his diary is packed with offers of work, he has made a point of returning to Hartlepool at the weekend to say his own thank you to the town people who helped him through his dark days.
The Mancunian will be at the Black Olive, on Navigation Point, to judge the marina venue’s Halloween charity fancy dress competition on Thursday, October 31, and then on Saturday he will be allowed to ‘run’ the popular pub after declaring it as his favourite town boozer during previous visits.
Bruce struck up a friendship with owners Neil and Mark Evans and Neil said: “It will be a great weekend having Bruce with us, he is judging our charity Halloween event on Thursday night, and will then host our big Saturday night party for him here.
“He has done remarkably well in turning his life around in such a short period. He loves to meet friends here on the marina, and he is a really popular guy when he visits the Black Olive.
“He never refuses a photo or autographs and the punters really warm to him. It has been a real thrill to see him get his life and career back on track so quickly and we’re looking forward to seeing him.”
Bruce, who has been filming in British gangster movie Looters, Tooters & Sawn-Off Shooters since leaving the Big Brother house, said: “I can’t wait to get to Hartlepool. Mark and Neil at the Black Olive have got some surprises for me on Halloween night and next Saturday.
“I know Goffy has also arranged a host of charity work for me across my long weekend stay. I’m really excited to be heading back to my second home again.
“There are so many people there who have helped me through difficult times in town, it will be my turn to say thank you.
“I received a pile of mail and messages supporting me during over the past 12 months and I so much appreciate that the people of the town have taken the time to do that.”