Tim FernleyIt was either the 339 or the 340, the Dukinfield Circular. I used to get on at the bottom of Boyd’s Walk and stay on until the bus had taken me all the way around and back again. Then i’d get off on King Street, somewhere near St Luke’s church. I'd always sit in the same place, the front seat on the top deck, with my feet up on the window sill. It was great up there, I had a panoramic view and I could feel every twist and turn of the road. I can’t remember the fare, probably about 15p. I was 12, or maybe younger. I think I grew up on that bus. It definitely broadened my horizons. Before I found the confidence to make that journey the furthest I'd been away from home on my own was the paper shop next door to the Angel on King Street. I discovered there was a Yew Tree Lane, a Cheetham Hill Road and a Dukinfield Golf Club. And I was able to take in my first view of Manchester City Centre from the top of Duky.
I had my first kiss on the 340! Admittedly it was only a peck on the cheek, but to be fair, as lovely as she was, I wouldn’t have wanted to snog my great aunt Marion. She slipped a 50p coin I’m my hand as she planted a sloppy one on my face, leaving an image of her lips so defined that the Rolling Stones might have claimed copyright to it.
My first radio ‘gig' was in Manchester on Piccadilly Radio. I thought it’d gone really well, so I asked Tim Grundy if there was a chance of any permanent work for me. He didn’t take long to consider my offer before gently persuading me to try Hospital Radio. I duly obliged and it turned out to be a life changing decision. I spent 14 years as a volunteer at Tameside Hospital where Heartbeat Radio became 8 Towns Radio, and that was where I presented my first ever radio shows. If you discount the ones from my bedroom of course! Following that, I spent another 14 years at Pure Radio in Stockport, 7 of those as Breakfast Presenter, and then I presented shows on Oldham’s Revolution 96.2, High Peak Radio and Ashbourne Radio in Derbyshire, before joining the BBC to work in Radio Current Affairs. But not on Saturdays between 1 & 3pm, as that’s when I'm back on the radio in Tameside on 103.6fm.
So, I seem to have come full circle. Now my radio career reminds me of a journey on that 339 or 340 Dukinfield bus, except I'm not allowed to put my feet up on the desk. That would be rude.