ONE man is helping to up the tourism rate in Bolton — by loaning his couch to travellers.
David Shuttleworth, aged 57, has invited 30 back-packers from all over the world to stay at his home in Hilden Street, The Haulgh, over the last two years through a “couch surfing” website.
He decided to open his home up to guests as he travelled around Eastern Europe on a year-long travelling holiday — after being made redundant in May 2012.
He takes his visitors to local hotspots such as the Fred Dibnah statue and Smithills Hall, before rou-nding the day off with a Carrs Pasty and a pint at Ye Olde Man and Scythe.
His most recent guest, Nadine Schuble, from Freiburg in Germany, stayed at Mr Shuttleworth’s for two nights after backpacking for 10 weeks on couches across the UK.
Mr Shuttleworth said: “I met a guy while travelling who was couch surfing in Berlin and Sicily and I thought it sounded like fun. As soon as I got back I put myself up as a host on CouchSurfing.org.
“I put Manchester as my area on my profile because no one would think of searching for Bolton. But I explain in my description that I’m only a 20-minute journey away and it’s just as easy to come here.
“Most people who come to the North West will see points of interest in Manchester, such as the Hacienda and the football stadiums, whereas I take them that little bit further out and give them a little history lesson.
“Some people just aren’t very well off but want to see the world, and others want to experience the place they visit with a local person so that they get taken to places they wouldn’t normally see.
“Everyone who has stayed has said they enjoyed their time in Bolton. In fact, two from New Zealand who came over on New Year’s Eve to the Dog and Partridge said it was the best New Year’s party they’d ever been to.”
There is no money involved and if “couch surfers” are worried about safety, they can ask for references.
Miss Schuble said: “David took me to the nearby reservoirs for a hike and we had a nice look around the lovely town centre. It’s the best way to meet new, interesting people.”
TOP 10 PLACES DAVID TAKES HIS VISITORS:
- Ye Olde Man and Scythe
- The Dog and Partridge
- Fred Dibnah statue
- Carrs Pasties
- For a full English breakfast
- Entwistle Reservoir
- Moses Gate Country Park
- Smithills Hall
- The Strawbury Duck in Turton
- Bolton Museum