THE tools of legendary steeplejack Fred Dibnah are there to be used — and that is exactly what lifelong fan John Handley intends to do with them.

Mr Handley travelled from his home in Dover to the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre in Radcliffe Road to see what items belonging to the celebrity steeplejack and broadcaster he could take back with him.

The heritage centre — Fred’s former home — held an open day for people to buy what was not sold at the auction, held recently.

Another such open day will be held this Saturday for fans.

Once items are sold, the centre will shut completely to the public.

Mr Handley travelled up on Friday and stayed in the centre overnight.

He said: “I slept in Fred’s bedroom, reading one of his books.

“I am a Fred Dibnah fan ever since his programmes were broadcast on television.

“He was able explain thing to people and had a passion and enthusiasm.

“People loved him for that.”

He bought a selection of Fred’s tools.

“Fred’s tools were made to be used and that is what I will be doing. His tools all resonate with his memories,” said Mr Handley, a careers teacher.

Throughout the day, people visited the centre, some just to get another look at the place, others to pick up an item or time belonging to Fred.

John Stanley, from Astley, said: “It is the first time I have been. I have a real interest in all this and visit the Astley museum a lot.”

Volunteer Craig Duckworth has is eye on some of Fred’s belongings. “Fred was so down to earth, a working-class Northerner and had no airs or graces but a very brainy chap. That’s why people like him,” he said.

Owner Leon Powsney said: “It has been emotional, but on the positive side hundreds of people now own a little bit of Fred, his items are going to a good home.

“I will have to hold another day like this because we still have a lot of stuff of Fred’s and is something people can take home of Fred’s.”