Harry Ashton was an OAP who enquired about a vacancy for a paperboy at The Kabin in January 1988. Rita Fairclough and Mavis Riley tried to politely refuse but he had an answers for all of their concerns - he got up early every day to walk his loyal dog Jimmy, and he was obsessed with keeping fit. To prove he could manage the early hours, he volunteered for a trial run. Alan Bradley gave Harry the toughest round to test him, and he returned with the same enthusiasm despite a gang of kids pinching his flashlight (he'd got it back when Jimmy frightened them away). Rita and Mavis were impressed and he was taken on.
While Harry insisted on being treated no differently from the other paperboys, Mavis gave him Priscilla Millbanks's round as it was the easiest. This didn't go down well with Priscilla and Wayne Pickles, who threatened to quit unless Harry was sacked as the job should go to a kid. Harry offered to resign, but Mavis instead called all parties to a meeting at Jim's Cafe where she got Wayne and Priscilla to agree to stay in exchange for reinstating their old rounds, and sharing Craig Atkinson's round between them while he was sick with a cold, but she made clear her feelings on their selfish, petty-mindedness.
As Mavis had saved his job, Harry asked her out to dinner at a place in the Precinct. Mavis tried to refuse but he wheedled a yes out of her. The evening was made awkward by the fact that Mavis thought Harry was spending what little money he had on her and tried to cut costs by suggesting they split the bill (which he refused) and then ordering an omelette and water (which Harry asked was for religious reasons). Harry told Mavis that he'd taken early retirement from his position as Senior at the Rates Office as his wife was ill but she died six months later, and so a job delivering newspapers coupled with his pension suited him very well.
A few days later, Mavis received a surprise visit from Harry's sister Muriel. Muriel was a spinster who, having lived with Harry since his wife's death, and been close to Harry since their parents' early deaths, was threatened by Mavis, and had come to The Kabin to inspect her. Muriel settled Mavis's worries about Harry's finances, telling her that Harry dabbled in stocks and shares but didn't give the impression of being wealthy as he didn't throw his money around. Muriel's motivation in visiting Mavis was obvious however, and Mavis was very embarrassed. Harry asked Mavis to take what Muriel said with a pinch of salt, but Mavis told him she wanted to keep things formal from now on.
In April, Harry and Mavis saw Cry Freedom at the pictures.
Harry lived in Nelson Street. He told Rita that he knew of Len Fairclough as he did job as his neighbour's house a few years ago.