Saturday 25 March 2023

Enjoy our annual festival of words...

We are delighted to welcome back our ‘What’s your Story, Chorley?’ event to Chorley town centre for 2023!

After the success of last year’s event in March 2022, it’s great news that we can welcome the much loved event back to Chorley.

We have so much on offer with published authors, writers, poets, musicians, arts and crafts and much more! There will be workshops, performances and people sharing their own stories across the town centre.

This event has expanded over the years into a wonderful arts festival, with so much to offer for visitors of all ages! Our popular book bench trail will return across the town centre, with thanks to local schools, nurseries and community groups for creating these for us.

So put the date in your diary and get involved – we can’t wait to welcome you back!

What's it all about?

What’s Your Story, Chorley? is organised by a group of dedicated volunteers and Chorley Council.

The event is based on a similar concept to Chorley Live and gives authors, writers and storytellers of all kinds the chance to showcase their craft in a range of venues in Chorley town centre. You can meet the authors and get a chance to develop your writing skills, listen to poetry or watch dramatic presentations. Plus, you can pick up a leaflet and follow the book bench trail around Chorley town centre. Look out for the fabulous book benches which have been hand painted by schools, nurseries and community groups across the Chorley borough.

Plus check out our pre-event information below. 

What's happening and where?


We have some fantastic talks before the fun day of What’s Your Story Chorley? on Saturday (25 March).

Step back in Time for stories with author Susan Brownrigg – Wednesday 22 March at 4pm (Chorley Library). Want to have a go at writing a story set in the past? Published children’s author, Susan Brownrigg, will demonstrate how to dig into the past to find inspiration for terrific tales. Learn tricks for choosing a setting, naming and defining characters and working out what they want in a fun interactive workshop for ages 8 to 12. 

Dr Clive Barker – Friday 24 March at 7pm (Chorley Theatre)

For over 30 years as a Chorley Family Doctor, Dr Clive Barker tried to make things right, but sometimes couldn’t. These are some of the ups and downs, the funny and the sad, of training, practising, and reflecting on medicine. Local retired GP, Dr Clive Barker speaks Birth, Life and Death. The reflections of a retired Chorley GP, still learning. 

Join Dr Clive Barker in Chorley Theatre on Friday 24 March at 7pm. 

Tickets can be purchased via Chorley Theatre here

On the day

Many venues across Chorley including Chorley Library, Chorley Theatre, Primrose Gardens, 1498 Covered Market and our local independent bookshop Ebb & Flo will host our event contributors with sessions starting on the hour from 11am – 4pm.

Popular children’s author Jen Carney will return to the event as she reads extracts from her comedy series, ‘The Accidental Diary of B.U.G.’ and you can ask her about her life as an author/illustrator. 

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House, will also be making a return, talking about the historical events that have happened over the past year as ‘Mr Speaker’. (This is now a ticketed event).

We have had a lot of interest in Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s appearance at Chorley Theatre for What’s Your Story, Chorley? at 11am on Saturday 25 March. To make sure that you get your chance to see Sir Lindsay, please book your free ticket here. Tickets will also be available on the day from Chorley Theatre Box Office if there are any seats left – to avoid disappointment please book early to secure your seat.

A new addition to WYSC 2023, business talk sessions at Primrose Gardens. Local businesses will join us to give their stories about how they became successful in Chorley, the importance of shopping locally to boost the local economy and they will be available to answer any questions you may have about getting set up as a business in Chorley.

Come along to the ‘FRIENDS ARE AMAZING’ session by locals Hughie and Freddie. FRIENDS ARE AMAZING is an inspiring picture book celebrating the importance of friendship and togetherness, written by fundraisers, best friends and Pride of Britain winners Hughie Higginson and Freddie Xavi. In this session Hughie and Freddie will talk about their inspiring journey raising £250,000 for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, and their top tips for being an amazing friend.

Musicians will be telling their story by singing live original songs throughout the day at the 1498 covered market.

Sessions for children will be available to attend at the junior library with, Rogan Mills, Susan Brownrigg, and Rich Alker just some of the contributors whilst others host fun, interactive workshops and sessions for kids.

We may well be miles away from the coast, but at this year’s What’s Your Story Chorley? we’re bringing the coast to you!  Come and let the little ones get hands on and design and create their very own underwater story characters from an array of different craft materials.

From Melanie the friendly mermaid to Marvin the mischievous sea monster, let your child’s imagination flourish with a little help from the story cards found inside our Magical Story Jars.  This underwater adventure story activity is sure to provide the perfect story inspiration and help both young and old have fun together creating their story character and writing an underwater themed adventure story.  Take your crafty creation home to prompt even more underwater stories long after your visit.

The popular, colourful book bench trail will return across the town centre, with thanks to local schools, nurseries and community groups creating these for us. This year there will also be a fun quiz and prizes to be won.

There really is something for everyone!

Take a look at our event programme and plan out which sessions you will attend on the day. Programmes will be available from all venues on the day, or why not collect one from the following locations ahead of the event?:

  • Chorley Town Hall – Reception
  • Union Street Council Offices
  • Primrose Gardens
  • 1498 Covered Market
  • Chorley Library
  • Ebb and Flo Bookshop

What's the book bench trail ?

Our popular Book Bench trail will be back for 2023, showcasing vibrant artwork created by local school and nursery children and community groups across the borough.

The book benches will be scattered around Chorley town centre for people to find. This year we will also have a fun quiz and a prize to be won!

There will also be a community book bench for visitors to come and paint their favourite book characters on. This will be located outside the Covered Market on Cleveland Street.

Book bench trail leaflets are available to pick up from Chorley Town Hall reception, Union Street Council Offices, Chorley Library, Covered Market – (side of noticeboard), Ebb & Flo bookshop, Malcolm’s Musicland and Bubble n Shake. 

You can also fill in our online book bench trail and send it to us by email at: to be in with a chance of winning a prize! 

You must download and save the above trail to your phone or smart device to fill in your answers!

On the back of the leaflets you will find the Book Bench Quiz. Find each book bench on the trail and answer the question related to the book benches. Then return your completed book bench trail leaflets to Chorley Library or via email to for your chance to win prizes! Some benches will have a QR code on to display all the information about the book, the author and how the schools have created these benches. Be sure to check it out!

After the event, the book benches will be returned to schools for the children to enjoy, and to inspire reading for years to come.

Thank You

We want to say a big thank you to all the following people and groups that have donated their time and efforts to making this event happen in person once more:

The following organisations have supported the event in many ways:

  • Chorley Council
  • Chorley Library
  • Ebb and Flo Bookshop
  • Chorley Theatre
  • Local Primary Schools, Nurseries and local community groups for their excellent Book Benches

Video stories for all ages

Follow the links below to find all the great content from the 2021 virtual ‘What’s Your Story, Chorley’ for you to enjoy any time!

Find your way

By Car

Use junction 8 off the M61 or junction 28 off the M6. Chorley town centre is easily accessed from the A6, which passes directly through Chorley.

By Bus

Chorley is well-served by bus routes linking the town centre with surrounding villages. The main bus route is the 125/126, which links Chorley to Preston and Bolton. There are also direct bus routes from Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the Lake District.

By Rail

Chorley is on the main train line between Manchester and Blackpool. If you are travelling on a long distance service you will need to change at Manchester or Preston.