TRAWLING through archives while compiling Nostalgia articles for The Westmorland Gazette in recent weeks, I have come across photographs of some of the people I have had contact with during my time as a journalist in this area.

For example, there was a photograph of Cllr Bill Stewart, who served as Mayor of Kendal three times, opening a fete at The Queen Katherine School. Bill was a great public servant, as were other town mayors such as Colin Reynolds, Philip Ball and Avril Dobson.

Another councillor who worked tirelessly for the local community was Elizabeth Braithwaite, who served as chair of Lakes Parish Council and South Lakeland District Council (SLDC). She was always willing to go the extra mile. I recall writing a story about how she and fellow councillor Doreen Harrison came across a roadside wall which had partially collapsed at Ambleside. Despite the fact both were dressed in blouses and skirts, they immediately set to and repaired the wall.

A similar community hero is Cllr Roger Bingham, of Ackenthwaite, the only person to have chaired both Cumbria County Council and SLDC, who has only missed one meeting of Milnthorpe Parish Council in 40 years – on the day of a cancer operation. Roger has also been a great support to the Gazette, writing hundreds of columns for the Nostalgia pages, along with history stalwarts like Arthur Nicholls and Peter Holme.

I have also been reminded of some excellent council officers, such as Percy Duff, treasurer of Kendal Borough Council and SLDC for many years, and former SLDC officers who always made themselves available to answer queries about news stories, like Paul Jones, chief housing officer, and his colleagues such as Brian Hales (environmental health), Rodger Read (leisure services) and Peter Ridgway (planning).

Meanwhile, a look at Gazette back issues reminded me of when when Eric Halsall, of ‘One Man And His Dog’ fame, used to write a weekly sheepdog trialling column. Each Tuesday it would arrive in the post. Shortly afterwards, my phone would ring. ‘Newsroom’, I’d say and then, without any introduction, came the same words each week, delivered in Eric’s strong Lancashire accent: “Dogs alright, lad?”

The column was always fine, of course, and the friendly, weekly ritual made you feel that, like the dogs, life was alright too.