Rubbing his shoe won't bring you good luck

Generations of Wigan folk have been brought up with the myth that rubbing his foot means luck.

But Weird Wigan today appeals for your help unravelling the mystery of just why the bronze statue of Sir Francis Sharpe Powell in Mesnes Park has such a charmed boot.

For Friends of Mesnes Park's Sue Turner, the answer could result in more than a little good fortune.

The group is currently trying to collect people's memories,of the statue to form a bid for cash to spruce him up.

She said: "I've no idea where it comes from that rubbing his shoe is considered lucky.

"I suspect it started after the war when times were hard. You can just imagine children jumping up and grabbing his shoe and as it becomes more and more shiny people start rubbing it for luck."

And it seems, whatever walk of life or belief, Wigan folk can't help having a sneaky rub.

One of the few documented accounts of someone hoping for a BOOTiful blessing can be found in Wigan psychic Margery Jolley's 1994 book A Look Around The Corner – Memoirs of a Psychic.

And in it she warns against asking Sir Francis for some motoring help, like she did in 1985 as she faced her third driving test.

She says: "It was absolutely appalling. I got off to a bad start when I saw that my examiner was the same one who had walked off and left me the last time.

"Then everything went wrong and I broke every rule in the Highway Code and possibly a few that aren't.

"That night, I found out a possible reason for the disaster and why I should have kept well away from Sir Francis Powell.

"My son James rang to ask me how I got on and after I'd told him my tale of woe I mentioned rubbing the statue's toe.

"That's the worst thing you could have done," he said. "The old feller hated horseless carriages and he tried to get a by-law passed banning them from the town centre."

Send your thoughts, pictures and tales to David Taylor, Wigan Evening Post, Martland Mill, Martland Mill Estate, Wigan, WN5 OLX or e-mail