A GRANDAD is to have his prized photos — taken with some of Bolton’s biggest sporting legends — displayed in a shopping centre’s pop-up museum this weekend.
Among the photos supplied by Norman Bamford, aged 74, from Tonge Moor, is one taken in 1958 when he was presented with a cash prize at the town’s former Grand Theatre by Bolton Wanderers legend Nat Lofthouse.
Since then he has also rubbed shoulders with boxing great Amir Khan, who he met with his grandson, and Olympic star cyclist Jason Kenny.
Mr Bamford has always made sure he captures the moments on camera to share with his family and they will now go on display at Crompton’s Champions, a pop-up sporting museum celebrating Bolton’s sporting greats at the shopping centre on Saturday and Sunday, from 11am to 3pm.
Mr Bamford answered an appeal from Crompton Place manager Malcolm Angus for stories, anecdotes, photos, memorabilia and memories which link to the town’s impressive achievements in the world of sport.
The retired railway buffet attendant has come up with three photos for Crompton’s Champions.
His meeting with Wanderers hero Nat Lofthouse OBE came at the old Grand Theatre in Bolton.
Mr Bamford said: “When I was younger I used to go along to the weekly variety show there.
“I’d won the quiz quite a few times. But this occasion was the big one because the star prize was £50 — a lot of money in 1958 and equivalent to quite a few weeks' wages.
“I got was to name three members of the Bolton Wanderers team in that year’s FA Cup Final.
“I named the players as Ray Parry, Doug Holden and Nat Lofthouse, who scored both Bolton’s goals in their 2-0 victory.
“I didn’t know Nat, who was one of my sporting heroes, would be there to hand over my £50 prize but he was and it was a great thrill to meet him.
“Years later I went along to the Reebok Stadium, where Bolton now play, and asked if Nat, who was then on the management team, would sign the picture.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet him again but he did sign the picture for me which was great.”
He and his grandson Simon Riley, from Breightmet, had their picture taken with Amir Khan at the boxer’s Gloves gym.
Mr Bamford said: “Back in 2008 I happened to get chatting to Amir’s father, Shah, at the gym and told him my grandson would love to meet his son. His arranged for us to go back a few days later and we met Amir and had some pictures taken with him.”
Mr Bamford’s latest encounter with famous sporting names, which also provided a memorable souvenir picture for Crompton’s Champions, came in June this year when he went along to the Town Hall in hope of running into another local hero, 26-year-old Jason Kenny OBE, who won gold in both the team sprint and individual sprint at the 2012 London Olympics.
He said: “I went over and spoke to him and he was very approachable.
“His girlfriend Laura Trott was with him and I spoke to her too.”
Bolton’s trio of sporting greats are just a few of the stars Mr Bamford has met over the years.
He said: “One of the my most unforgettable moments was in 1973 when I had tea with the American singing star Doris Day at the Dorchester Hotel in London.
“I knew she was over here on a rare visit to Britain and worked out that she must be staying at the Dorchester. I kept ringing and asking if I could speak to her.
“They must have admired by persistence and eventually said she was a having a little tea party in her suite and would I like to join her.
“In my time I’ve met lots of people like Ken Dodd and Cliff Richard. I also once spoke on the phone to Dame Vera Lynn.”
When he’s not star hunting, Mr Bamford is a volunteer for the Octagon Theatre in Bolton and the East Lancashire heritage railway in Bury, acting as a greeter for them both.
The two-day event at Crompton Place will feature activities and performances for the whole family.
Visitors will be invited to take part in a public vote for their favourite Bolton sporting legend.
Crompton’s Champions follows on from the popular Cotton Mill museum set up at Crompton Place last May, which was dedicated to the industrial heritage of the town and transported visitors back 200 years to a bygone era which shaped Bolton.
Shopping centre manager Malcolm Angus said: “Thanks to the fantastic feedback we’ve had from our loyal shoppers like Norman we will fill the walls of the pop-up museum.”