ALTHOUGH the centenary of his birth is not far away, the clamour for anything associated with Blackburn-born Alfred Wainwright continues to grow.

Following the announcement that a Rishton publisher was going to reissue a book illustrated by Wainwright there was a surge in interest as people searched for his rare title called Scratch and Co., The Great Cat Expedition.

After an article about the reissue in the August 14 edition of the Lancashire Telegraph another native of the town was quick to track down a copy of the book.

Fell walker Bernard McNulty, 69, of Lovely Hall Lane, Copster Green, is originally from Randall Street, Blackburn.

He said: "I saw the article in the Lancashire Telegraph and couldn't believe it. Some members of the society have copies that they wont sell. One lady has two which she wouldn't sell to me."

By contacting the LT, Mr McNulty became aware of a copy of Scratch and Co., in Oxfam on Market Place, Clitheroe, that was being offered at £70.

After checking with his wife whether he could splash out the cash, he made the short trip down the A59 to collect the copy.

As some copies of this first edition are selling on eBay for between £300 and £350 it could prove to be an astute purchase.

Mr McNulty has been fell walking for 35 years and claims that he never knew about Wainwright until he donned his walking boots.

Since then he has had a keen interest in the illustrated guides and has over 120 books in his collection, some of which are worth well in to four figures. Mr McNulty added: "I've got a lot of first editions and picked up some others ones along the way. It keeps me out of mischief really."

And now even the town itself is set to mark the anniversary of the birth of one its most famous sons with a centenary celebration at the Cathedral on Sunday, January 21 2007.

As well as being one of the town's most famous sons, Wainwright and friend Tom Snape, who lived on Pleckgate Road, were two of the founding members of the Blackburn Rovers Supporters Club in 1939.