Snooker ace Steve Davis has hit back at Stuart Maconie’s unflattering remarks about Accrington.
The radio DJ came under fire last month for criticising the town in his new book, painting an unflattering portrayal and referring to ‘chain-smoking women’ and ‘teenage girls with prams’.
But on a visit to an Accrington-based training group, the six-times world snooker champion said he loved the town.
Davis, who like Maconie presents a music show on the BBC 6 Music radio station, said: “Everyone thinks the area is special. I do know there are parts of Accrington that are among the toughest in the country, but there are areas all over that are like that.
“From a kids’ point of view a little bit of respect and a bit of something to do could help get a bit of pride back.”
Davis, who lives in Essex, is a regular visitor to Accrington as part of his work with the North Lancs Training Group, which he has been involved with since 1997.
He was speaking on a visit to Accrington Market Hall this week.
He said: “I enjoy coming to the area and I come up a lot. If I had to say where I spend more time that anywhere, other than home, it would be here.
“I feel quite fortunate to know people in this area and they are really nice to get on with.
“I like a drop of beer so when I’m up here I like to find some good pubs with local ale.”
See more from Steve Davis in the video below ...
Maconie travelled to Hyndburn while writing Hope and Glory to retrace the history of the Accrington Pals, who fought in the First World War.
But he angered some Accringtonians by painting an unflattering portrayal.
He dubbed one street ‘a crowded, unlovely hotch-potch of cheap shops, minicab offices and fast-food outlets’.
When contacted by the Observer, Wigan-born Maconie said he was a big fan of Accrington and its sense of history, but would make no apology for his portrayal.
The North Lancs Training Group (NLTG) is offering up to 100 apprenticeship places at its Accrington base in areas including manufacturing, hotel and catering and business administration.
Davis, who is an ambassador for the group, added: “What the NLTG does effectively is get kids into employment so when they asked me to come up to help raise awareness of apprenticeships it was something I wanted to do.
“Going down other routes like university is the right thing for some people, but further education isn’t for everyone. I don’t think anybody needs to be pressurised into doing it.”
Jim Harkness, managing director of NLTG, said: “For Hyndburn to have somebody like Steve getting behind it is a great thing.”
For more information contact NLTG on 01254 395355.