From being a schoolboy in Bolton to becoming a conservationist in Africa, Larry Patterson hasn’t led an average life.

He has recently written a memoir about his 40 years working as a conservationist in Africa.

The memoir, called Aiming To Save, details Larry’s life, going from his upbringing in industrial Bolton to following his passion in vibrant, colourful Africa.

He spoke to The Bolton News about his life and why he decided to write the memoir.

The Bolton News: "Collaring wildebeest in Central Kalahari Game Reserve""Collaring wildebeest in Central Kalahari Game Reserve"

Larry told us why he was inspired to go into this field.

He said: “I was at school in Bolton and thinking of going into the armed forces, but they found out I was colourblind so I couldn’t do that.

“I’d always been into sport, wildlife, hiking and the boy scouts. I used to see David Attenborough’s early television programmes and thought I’d like to do something like that.

He continued: “I was interested in being a warden and spoke to my school careers master, he’d never been asked about being a game warden, but suggested becoming a vet.

The Bolton News: "Closing in to dart buffalo in the Okavango""Closing in to dart buffalo in the Okavango"

“He said I could get my licence, try working in Africa and if that doesn’t work out then I can come back and get a vets job here – so become a vet I did.”

After he got his qualifications and a stint at a vet in Ramsbottom, Larry set out to Africa. He highlights how being there never gets old, saying:

“It still amazes me in the sense that you never get used to the size, the grandeur. Just the vistas, it is so different in every sense.

“When you see 300 to 400 elephants in one place, it is quite something.”


The Bolton News: "Okavango Delta - working in paradise""Okavango Delta - working in paradise"

The expanse can be a hindrance too, as Larry tells us.

He said: “My wife got appendicitis last year, I had to drive 600 miles across Botswana, which took about 10 hours.

“She was alright – these days 90 per cent of the road was tar, but back during my first time in Botswana there was about half a mile of tar in the whole country, a country the size of France.”

Larry then told us why he decided to write the memoir.

He said: “I thought it would be a good thing to tell. I’m not in it for commercial sales, I just thought it would be a good thing to write down, an unusual kind of life.


The Bolton News: "Brand new collar for a BBC documentary""Brand new collar for a BBC documentary"

“I think a lot of it is very entertaining. I also touch on serious issues about conservation, but a lot of it is about good times in the bush.”

He then told us how he found growing up in Bolton.

He said: “Bolton was a different place then. I enjoyed it, enjoyed being at Bolton School, the boy scouts, soccer teams and school trips.

“I haven’t lived in Bolton for 50 years now.”

He continued: “My father was a policeman for 40 years in Bolton so I knew the place pretty well. Listening to him tell his stories could be quite entertaining.”

Larry Patterson’s memoir, Aiming To Save, is out now and available for purchase.