By Crompton and Royton Rotary Club
JACK Dearden – the voice of sport at BBC Radio Manchester – joined us for lunch and then kept us entertained with stories from his years as a sports commentator and writer.
He also told us his life story and how he ended up working for the BBC.
Jack was born In Oldham and lived in Werneth with his family and extended family which included professional football players.
He left Hathershaw School at 14 and became an apprentice at the Gas Board, now British Gas. His highlight of his years there was being sent out to work in Egypt for a year installing gas supplies into homes in Cairo. On returning, he set up working for himself.
Jack wrote articles and reports for local newspapers but always fancied being a commentator and in order to learn his trade he worked for 10 years at Radio Cavell and also freelance.
Eventually he was offered freelance work at BBC Radio Manchester, and obtained some long-term contracts. These turned into a full-time post for 15 years where he enjoyed commentating on local football and rugby games.
A reorganisation at the BBC allowed Jack to take redundancy and the payment allowed him to pay off his mortgage. There followed a new venture as sports commentator at Channel M, which only lasted two years, then more freelance work before landing another fulltime post at the BBC. Now Jack is mainly associated as the link person to Bolton Wanderers for the BBC.
We then had a question/answer session where we explored the current state of football and rugby League in general and Oldham Athletic in particular, and the conversation could have continued for another few hours!