Blackburn has a great snooker heritage. Alex Higgins and Dennis Taylor both lived here. Have you ever visited before?

It’s always been a great hotbed for snooker talent. I have played a couple of legends in Blackburn. Did one with Ronnie in 2011 and we had six centuries in eight frames.

Who is your snooker?

Alex Higgins was always my hero and became my best friend in snooker.

What was your greatest sporting moment?

Winning the UK championship, I beat John Parrott in the final but played great throughout.

What was your darkest sporting hour?

I’ve not really had a dark moment. I feel very privileged to have played a sport I love for 30 years.

What inspires you to keep playing? have you had any thoughts about retiring?

As long as I can compete I will play, I’m 64 in the world now so it’s getting tougher but I’ll carry on for as long as I can and on my day I still think I can compete with anyone.

Yes – to win the World Championships, of course!

Did you ever imagine as a child that you would become a sporting superstar? When did you realise that you had talent?

Me and my mates used to hide from school in the snooker hall in Tooting and one day I just picked up a cue and the rest is history.

What is your most vivid childhood memory?

Touring the country in a cab as a young kid with Tony Meo hustling players for a few bob

If it hadn’t been snooker what would it have been?

No idea, I’m not one of those who is good at other sports.

What is the downside of fame?

 don’t think there is a downside, I guess it can make you a bit selfish but my fans have always been very good with me.

Will snooker ever become as popular as it was in the 80s?

I don’t think so, as football dominates everything now. But in those days you only had four TV channels so viewing figures were massive.

Why don’t more women play snooker professionally?

There is one, Reanne Evans who has won the Ladies’ world title ten times and is now playing some mens’ events. I’m involved in trying to mentor her and we’ve got her a top coach now, so watch this space.

You were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1995. How did the news affect your life and has it altered your lifestyle?

It was a massive shock and made me feel mortal. Luckily for me it was just confined to that part of my body and touch wood I am all clear, but we’re now seeing Ali Carter fight this terrible disease.

You have five children – any grandkids?

Yeah I’m a granddad now and it’s great to spend time with them, although their mum says I spoil them and give them back hyper!

Do you ever cry? If so, why?

Certain things get me emotional, grief mostly. Losing Alex and Paul Hunter and obviously close family.

You got engaged to Kelly Singh two years ago. Are you now married? What attracted you to her?

Not married but going strong. She understands I have my career and can be away a lot but she’s built her own business in Southampton. She makes me laugh a lot, it works well.

What three things can’t you live without?

My snooker cue, my snooker case and my snooker chalk!

How would you describe yourself in a sentence?

A whirlwind both on and off the table, just blowing a little less nowadays.

Your epitaph?

A rascal from Tooting who did all right, made a few people smile and shared a beer or two too many along the way!

  • Jimmy White, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Dennis Taylor will be taking part in the Snooker Legends event at King George’s Hall on Saturday, August 2.