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Dave Appleton


Our Dave entered this world in the summer of 1948 born to loving parents, Len a police constable and Eileen. Dave was joined 2 years later in the Appleton household by Sister Brenda. Their childhood was spent growing up in Ajax St, Castleton, where the siblings forged their lifetime bond; around Kingsland common and the surrounding streets.  Brenda recalls that because she was the only girl in the gang that included Pete Banner, John, Vic, Mike and Jeff, it was always her turn to be in the nets, or if it was cricket she was never allowed to bat or bowl because she was told she was the best fielder.  In 1958 two became three as little brother Peter joined the family.

Dave joined the Rochdale Observer in 1965 as a nervous junior reporter, but under his Uncle Alan’s wing he began his 46 year journey in journalism; which kept him in work and beer money until his retirement in 2011.

Our Dave was a keen sportsman and turned out for Castleton Moor cricket club as a teenager in the sixties. He also gained a reputation as a tough tackling midfielder, best described as keen, rather than talented, in the local amateur football leagues playing for the long bygone teams Kingsland United & Castleton Parish.  It was at one of these games as a 8 year old stood on the windswept touchline at Lenny Barn with Dad watching a game against a Sunday School team who had the vicar making up the numbers, that I witnessed a tackle that cut the cleric in two; which would nowadays would warrant at least a ten match ban! As the vicar dusted himself down and looked for his glasses he was screaming obscenities that no 8 year old catholic schoolboy should be listening to. I remember Dad covering my ears and saying “I can’t believe it Our Dave has made the vicar swear.”

In April 1970 Dave and his good friend Ken decided to join the exodus of “£10 poms” and made the long trip to Perth in Western Australia to seek fame & fortune. Dave initially worked as a newspaper journalist and then joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, working as a Radio & TV reporter.  It was during this time, in one of his memorable interviews, he met the American crooner Perry Como who was visiting Perth. Our Dave persuaded Perry, who was an ex-barber, to cut his hair!

Dave continued progressing up through the ranks finishing his career as a News Producer, responsible for making sure the evening news went out to plan.

Dave loved welcoming any friends who visited Perth from the UK and was always the perfect host, making sure they were comfortable and he was proud to introduce them to his friends.  What I didn’t realise was that this was a reciprocal arrangement as he had forgotten to mention it to me!  So Karen and I answered the door to countless bedraggled travellers saying “G’ day, I’m Bruce, your Dave said it will be ok for me stay for a few days”


In 1991 Our Dave had decided that he wanted to swap the sun kissed beaches of Australia for his native homeland of mills and corner shop chippy’s, and he moved back in with Mum & Dad. Career wise he went back to his roots and joined the Heywood Advertiser and Rochdale Observer, covering local news and sport.

Our Dave was in his element in this role, especially when covering Castleton village news, his workload comprised visiting the pubs and clubs of Castleton chatting to regulars, listening to conversations. If you weren’t on your guard with what you told him, it was odds on you would be reading about yourself in Saturday’s Ob, as Tommy, Curly and Hannam found out on numerous occasions.

Many times I’ve been sat with him and someone has said to him “I didn’t tell you that, what happened was ……….” He would just chuckle into his beer and say “you know how it is lad, never let the truth get in the way of a good story”

Even though he occasionally wrote under the pseudonyms of Neil Racker & Vladimir Earnshaw most readers who knew him could recognise his unique writing style.

Our Dave was thrilled at becoming an Uncle to nieces Samantha & Claire and nephew James.  It’s probably fair to say, and I’m sure he would agree, he never really got to grips with age appropriate gifts at Xmas and birthdays, as James will probably testify after receiving toy fire engines for his 12th, 13th & 14th birthdays. He became affectionately known as Uncle Arkwright, as the older he got they thought he bore a striking resemblance to the thrifty TV shopkeeper.

Now although he was academically blessed, Our Dave never really scaled the heights regarding practical expertise, resulting in dad at every family gathering re-telling the tale about the funniest thing he had ever seen, Our Dave spending twenty minutes on a packed Anglesey beach attempting to erect a deck chair. My personal favourite came when one afternoon he pulled up outside our house in Castleton and said “I’ve got a flat tyre” so I looked and said “it’s a bit more than a flat, there’s no tyre! Have you driven on it?”, “Only from Todmorden” came his reply. So I opened the boot to get the jack out and he reached in and took out a garden chair, put it up in the front garden and sat down in it and said “I’d better just watch this time in case it happens again”

Dave retired in 2011 and spent his spare time writing quizzes for local pubs and driving around visiting places he had missed whilst in Australia.  Just recently Our Dave joined the social media circus and no-one was as surprised as me when a tweet from him popped up on my phone, followed by the same tweet a dozen times over the following 10 minutes, then he rang me to say “I’ve just twittered you and you’ve not replied, hasn’t it come?”

Dave was a big believer in keeping traditional Lancashire customs alive and many friends will have witnessed his legendary renditions of local dialect folk songs and monologues, generally performed after supping a few pints of ale, and always appreciated by amused onlookers.

Well that’s our memories of a son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and drinking companion to many, and I’m sure you all have your favourite memories of Our Dave too!

Rest in peace, you have deserved it.




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