Haigh Hall gates make cover of new book

The Plantation Gates
The Plantation Gates

Wigan’s landmark Plantation Gates appear on the cover of a new book written by a regular visitor to the town.

The plantations at Haigh Woodland Park are a key location in The Trials Of Sally Dunning, by author Miller Caldwell.

The book is about a woman with autism - title character Sally - who is befriended by a pair of drug dealers from Wigan, who defraud, rob and assault her.

Mr Caldwell said: “The first scene is at the gates. She gets lost in the plantations.

“She went for a walk and she perhaps follows a whistle or an owl’s hoot or something and as she follows the river round, she gets a bit lost and that’s when the first of the drug addicts befriends her.

“There’s a bit of the dialect of Lancashire in the book.”

Mr Caldwell lives in Dumfries, in Scotland, but he was inspired to set the book in Wigan as he has been visiting the borough for more than four decades.

His wife Jocelyn comes from Wigan and they regularly visit her mother Shirley France, 94, who now lives in Standish but used to live close to the gates in Swinley.

Her late father was well-known GP Dr Stephen France.

Several other locations in the borough are also mentioned in the story.

Mr Caldwell, 67, who has two children, said: “I know Wigan so well.

“I was married in Wigan 42 years ago and every year, twice a year, we would go to Wigan to see the family.”

Despite the tough subject of the book, he says Sally’s life turns around and there is a positive ending.

He spent around nine months writing the book and said that people who had already read it in Wigan had enjoyed it.

Mr Caldwell has previously published several books, including novels, children’s stories, biographies - including his own - and self-help books.

He has also written film scripts and has a film agent in Hollywood working on getting a movie made.

The Trials Of Sally Dunning covers 200 pages, so Mr Caldwell has included a second novella in the book, entitled A Clerical Murder.

It tells the story of a psychiatrist working with clerics and what happens when one of them is killed.

The book is now on sale, available both as a hard copy and an ebook.