Just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz for me there is 'no place like home' | Sue Plunkett

Growing up in Burnley I always imagined I would live somewhere exciting, a big city like London or even New York when I was an adult.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 12:30 pm
Home is where the heart is for Sue Plunkett and that's right here in Burnley

I pictured myself living in a swish apartment and writing for Cosmpolitan magazine or something equally as modern and liberated.

My best friend and I had it all mapped out and were already planning how to 'live our best life' before the phrase had even been invented. She was harbouring dreams of running kennels while I would be interviewing the rich and famous.

But the closest I have ever got to city life is the three years I spent in Leeds while at university there.

And while many of my friends remained there, or re-located to other cities like London and Newscastle, I always knew in my heart I would return to my hometown of Burnley It's where I feel safe, comfortable, at home.

After graduation I was fortunate enough to get a good job within travelling distance of my home in Cliviger, call it fate or whatever, but it felt good to be back.

Yes, Burnley, like any other northern town, has its faults and I could start a huge debate about what is wrong with it.

But Burnley is also a very friendly place to live. I have all my memories here, the good, bad and ugly, and the countryside we have, within five or 10 minutes travellling distance of anywhere you live in the town, is just beautiful.

I have travelled to many parts of the world, including several visits to America, and one of my favourite cities is New York. But I could never picture myself living there.

A friend of mine, who moved to live in Cambridge several years ago, said to me before he left that what he hated about Burnley was the fact that everywhere you went someone knew you, or one of your relatives or your next door neighbour or your sister's ex boyfriend! You get where I'm coming from.

But it's that familiarity he despised that has kept me here.

I love the fact that nine times out of 10, each time I go to Burnley town centre for a wander round the shops I will bump into a friend, neighbour or colleague. I love the fact that on a night out in Burnley I will see the same faces.

The same faces of people I don't really know but who always smile and say hello. You don't get that in a city.

A former colleague once accused me of having no ambition because I was never interested in moving to Manchester or London, chasing the 'dream' career and big salary. I told him that a very talented and amibtious girl I was at university with had gone on to become editor of the New York post.

A double page magazine spread had photographs of her in her office that looked out across the city and in her gorgeous loft apartment home. But, despite having all that she talked about how lonely she felt as she lived on her own and found it difficult to make friends in such a big city where everyone led such busy lives.

She had chased the dream and was living it, but the reality was a lot different.

So being a 'small town girl' maybe isn't that bad after all.