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Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 13:36 UK
Blackpool hotel's blue plaque for Alistair Cooke link
Alistair Cooke
Alistair Cooke presented Letter from America for 58 years

The Blackpool hotel where broadcasting legend Alistair Cooke lived has been recognised with a blue plaque.

The Mayor of Blackpool officially unveiled the blue plaque in honour of the Letter from America presenter at the Iona Hotel on Vance Road.

The broadcaster lived at number 10 when his family first moved to the resort from Salford.

Cooke - who died in 2004 aged 95 - sent his Letter from America for listeners to BBC Radio 4 for 58 years.

Historical importance

Reporting on life as an Englishman in America, it was the longest-running series in history to be presented by a single person.

June and Trevor Lockwood
June and Trevor Lockwood show off the blue plaque at 10 Vance Road

The owners of the Iona, Trevor and June Lockwood, had no idea of the famous former resident when they bought the hotel six years ago.

When BBC London informed them of the connection, they researched the history of the property and found Cooke lived there when it was lodging accommodation.

The couple then asked the Blackpool Civic Society to mark the historical importance of the property with a blue plaque.

'Brought to light'

Historian Barry Shaw from the society knew Cooke lived in Ormond Avenue in the 1920s, but says he had no idea he resided on Vance Road.

The first edition of American Letter was in March 1946. It became Letter from America in 1949
Cooke's weekly show was broadcast to 50 countries
Cooke's last letter was broadcast on 20 February 2004

"I wasn't aware until June and Trevor wanted this plaque to be installed at number 10 Vance Road that Alistair was associated with this address at all.

"I think it is wonderful that Trevor and June have brought to light an aspect of Blackpool's history that even myself wasn't aware of."

Trevor and June are now planning to commemorate the broadcaster, possibly to make it a Cooke themed hotel.


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