This week sees a wonderful Member of Blackpool Council's staff finally leave for well earned retirement from a highly regarded role in the town's Central Library.
Tony Sharkey has been forever (or so it seems) tending to diverse enquiries and requests for information from visitors to the Library's 'Reference' section, which could forever be found up the stairs in this Blackpool institution. His immediate readiness to answer the oddest questions - especially from the likes of the Author - has been steadfast over the many years I have been making his domain my destination of choice for material on Blackpool's transport history.
In addition to dealing with both regulars and occasional visitors in town - he has taken upon himself the job of researching and delivering 'Talks' to avid audiences on all aspects of Blackpool's history - complete with accompanying images culled from the voluminous material held at the Library. His final 'Talk' is being held this Thursday - and will no doubt be given a fulsome round of applause from many people with interest in the town's heritage and stories from former times.
Blackpool Council is to be congratulated on maintaining this island of heritage research despite of consistent budget cuts. Whilst millions have been squandered on the team spending almost three years on 'designing' a Museum of Blackpool (life) - the Reference Library has provided a remarkable, if unacknowledged role, in making available historical materials and data to researchers and the wider public from its calm eyrie on the top floor of the Carnegie Foundation funded Central Library building on Queen Street.
This writer has benefitted immensely from the services (and patience) of Tony and his team, Ann and Gary (the latter also now recently retired) over the years. Producing my series of books on Blackpool's buses and trams has been enormously aided by the diligence and friendly advice readily available in Central Library. Readers of Rigby Road Publishing's titles similarly benefit from the background role of Tony Sharkey - with more titles still to come - the next one covering the 1950s.
So thank you Tony for all your help and contribution to these endeavours. Enjoy the new chapter in your life with freedom to travel unencumbered by requests for this or that document on Blackpool's past especially from John Woodman !
Blue plaque anyone ? 'Tony Sharkey Worked Here from 19?? to 2017'
Thank you Tony Sharkey - a great Council asset now moving on.