I was born and bred in Smallthorne in 1942 and at that time lived with my parents at 40, King Street, which is now Kinver Street.

I attended Smallthorne County Primary Junior Mixed School and in 1952 was the only boy to pass the 11 plus examination to attend Hanley High School, where I remained until 1957, when I left.

I worked for the National Coal Board for a while before joining the Police Service in early 1961 and leaving Smallthorne not to return, although my parents still resided in Smallthorne, in the same house, until their respective deaths.

I served for some 30 years in the Police Service, mainly on the Traffic Division and as a Traffic Sergeant would quite often attend a serious road traffic accident in the village and it was always good when the locals came up and had a chat. I had quite a high profile Police career and was commended on 9 occasions.

Since retiring from the Police Service, I have operated my own business providing a support service to the legal profession and insurance industry, specialising in traffic related matters, in particular fraudulent road accident claims. I am now 71 years of age, but still run the company I set up in 1990.

I now reside in Baldwins Gate and from time to time, have to visit Smallthorne to carry out enquiries, usually interviewing witnesses and every time I visit the village, I always think how much it has changed and I would hasten to add, in my opinion not for the better.

I could go on for ever, but in the Sentinel I note that your refer to Duddell Road, which was Brown’s Farm when I lived there and it was where we would regularly play in the fields.

Graham Payne

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