ASK Andrew Dickson to describe his main job in life and he will tell you he is a salesman.

It’s certainly true that his ability to sell has taken him through a very successful business career and has made his skills sought after in various areas of local life.

Today, at 70, he is still 'selling', on behalf of organisations from radio station Bolton FM to Bolton Golf Club. And still enjoying what he does.

Andrew was born in Davyhulme, Trafford and lived in Swinton for the first 10 years of his life.

Family folklore has it that the young lad at around five or six spotted a mackerel at the bottom of a boat in Abersoch during a family holiday.

He then marched up and down the beach trying to sell it for sixpence – refreshing it in the sea occasionally – and he sold it. The salesman was born.

The family moved to Anderton and Andrew attended Rivington and Blackrod High School, where academic life failed to interest him. “They didn’t have O levels in football and girls so I wasn’t interested,” he recalled, smiling.

Career options were also not a strong point but he did like the idea of being a salesman. Aged 17, this particular career path was interrupted by a string of jobs including a bricklayer’s assistant, a motorway services’ chef and a chef at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

At 18, he worked as an estimator at Bolton Gate Company and became an occasional salesman on Saturdays. Around this time, a hugely influential event occurred in his life: Andrew’s elder brother was killed in a car accident.

“He attended Bolton School and was very good at sports, very clever,” said Andrew. More or less by chance, Andrew met one of his brother’s great friends, former Wanderers’ footballer Geoff Bromilow, sparking a lasting friendship that would eventually change Andrew’s career.

Holidays in Spain had made him interested in learning the language so he took a course at Bolton College. When he got the chance of a job as a holiday firm courier in Majorca, he jumped at it.

This kickstarted a career in travel which led to him working for more than nine years in Spain for the Freddie Laker organisation.

He not only gained a love of the country but realised that he really liked helping people enjoy their holidays, especially through innovative tours.

“I became passionate about people getting the most from their holidays and because I enjoyed doing this it was easy,” said Andrew.

He had met his wife Pat just as she was going to Reading University and the two finally married when he was 25 in 1973. They had their first son, James, in the UK before returning to Majorca but when she was pregnant with second son Martin, they decided to come back for good.

Geoff Bromilow asked Andrew to help him set up Aquasun Holidays, which he did, but by 1983 — by which time the family were living in Bolton — Andrew was ready to start his own business.

St Andrews Travel opened in Bolton town centre and quickly grew from one shop to 10 retail branches, a Cruise Club, a large Foreign Exchange bureau and a thriving business travel department. Its burgeoning success bore the hallmark of good customer service, honed by Andrew throughout his career.

Andrew and his company won many business and travel awards which elevated his profile and he extended his work ethic to the local community.

Fundraiser Derek Gaskell enlisted him to organise a Concorde flight, raising thousands of pounds for his neurological charity. Andrew followed it with a similarly successful trip on the Orient Express.

In 2005, he decided to sell the retail side of the company, engineering a management buy-out for its business travel division a year later. He is still recognised as a travel expert and offered consultancy posts. His Wow Factor Consultancy offers training and motivation to businesses, all geared towards great customer service.

Andrew has held many local community posts and was the founder and now volunteer chairman of community radio station Bolton FM. In 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Bolton and in 2015 given the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Bolton and Bury Business Awards.

He is still an avid traveller. “I just love the excitement of the whole experience,” he explained, “The flying, the stepping off the plane into the sights and smells of a different country. Wonderful!”

Motivation has been a constant throughout the life of Andrew Dickson and it remains a powerful drive. “I just want to make a difference,” he said.