PATRICK Lydon grew up a couple of hundred yards from where he has spent almost his entire working life as one of Bolton’s most respected accountants.

“In fact,” admitted Patrick, now 63, “my mother was a cleaner in this building and I used to come with her when I was around eight or nine, so it has really figured in my life.”

The building is Bedford House, now the home of CHW Small Business Accounting but, until a merger two years ago with Cowgill Holloway, it was the home of Warings Chartered Accountants and one of the town’s longest-established firms.

Being an accountant, however, was not something young Patrick could probably have identified as a career choice when he attended St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School and then Thornleigh College.

He was the youngest of two brothers born to Catholic Irish immigrant parents who made their home in a small terraced house in Bolton. His father was a builder’s labourer and, although money was tight, love and support were plentiful and he grew up encouraged to achieve and to care for others.

Young Patrick did well at school, although his father died from lung cancer when his son was 16. This to some extent affected Patrick’s exam results and, ultimately, made him decide to get a job and help support his family rather than go to university.

By then, though, his sense of responsibility meant he had become the sixth-form representative on the board of Bolton Childer - a charity which helped disadvantaged youngsters. As well as introducing him to local businessmen also on the board, he met his future wife, Judith, who was representing Mount St Joseph’s High School there in the same capacity.

At 18, Patrick saw an advert in the Bolton News for a trainee chartered accountant’s post at Warings and he applied. Peter Smith, then staff partner at Warings, took him on and set the youngster off on his studies, which took him to what is now Manchester Metropolitan University as well as a successful career in accountancy.

“Warings was already very much a part of Bolton life,” recalled Patrick. “The firm had originally started in 1887, actually becoming Warings in 1951. As well as a good reputation, the company was also already involved in local charities which is perhaps another reason why it always felt right to me.”

Patrick did well in his accountancy exams and – apart from two years with Manchester accountancy giants KPMG expanding his experience – he has spent 42 years working for Warings, latterly Cowgills.

He not only rose to become senior partner but also enlarged his community interests. As well as being a governor at St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School for 10 years and at Thornleigh College for 10 years, Patrick has been involved with Fortalice, the town’s refuge for women and children fleeing domestic abuse. He is also a trustee and the treasurer for Bolton Hospice and he and Judith are active members of St Edmund’s RC Church in the town centre.

He has always seen his involvement in local charities as a natural extension of who he is and what he does for a living. “I also think it’s a very good thing for anyone young in business to get involved with charities,” he added. “As well as helping other people, it offers a rare opportunity to meet others from business and a cross-section of the community.”

Patrick, who has four adult children including Jessica who is also an accountant with Cowgills, is also keen on sports. He plays tennis at Markland Hill Racquets Club and has been asked to be next year’s captain at Old Links Golf Club.

He is working fewer days now, acting as a consultant for CHW although keeping his charitable interests going with his usual enthusiasm and hard work. He has also stepped down as the company’s public face on the popular Bolton News’ weekly Ask the Accountant column.

He has seen the world of accountancy change as the digital age has taken over and believes that, although there are obvious benefits, a measured approach is still the best when it comes to important financial decisions.

Patrick hangs on to traditional values and decency and is proud of his long associations in his home town. “People used to pay pennies into funds each week to build their local churches,” he said. “Today, people still help others in so many ways. Yes, I’m proud of Bolton.”