I was born in Lancashire of true Red Rose parents but, despite this, the family travelled around, living at various times in Southport (where my parents ran a home for evacuees), County Durham (where my father was a house father at an approved school) and Middlesbrough and Derbyshire where my father was a probation officer. I have always been proud of the way my parents ran the home for evacuees - it was run with a modernity of style that would not be out of place today.
My brother was born while we lived in Middlesbrough but my parents took care to ensure he was born in Lancashire.
As a nine-year-old in Derbyshire my brother and I went with my parents to have tea with the Sitwells at Renishaw and I distinguished myself by asking for Sir Osbert's autograph whilst refusing Dame Edith's (She wasn't a 'sir').
When I was ten, we returned to Lancashire - God's Own County for my parents.
My parents ran what in those days was called a "children's home", near Bolton. Despite its being an era when the fashion for foster homes was taking on a momentum that was never to diminish, it was a happy place and I believe that a good children's home can provide the sort of stable environment for children (especially those with behavioural difficulties) that is not provided when young children are moved between a series of foster homes. The experience of the children's home during my own formative years provided a legacy of caring which lasted throughout my professional life.
After a brief spell at a school in Eccles, I obtained a place at Bolton School during the headmastership of F R Poskitt. Here, unlike at Renishaw, I failed to distinguish myself in any way at all but I had to compete with many talented students.
Despite my poor showing at Bolton School, it gave me a smattering of German and Latin and an understanding of grammar and of 'how things should be done' for which I have been very grateful all my life. My parents struggled to send me to Bolton School and I owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for this and for the attention they paid to my upbringing.
After school and, rarely for boys at Bolton School, having failed to progress sufficiently to consider university, I almost accidentally got a job as junior clerk in the welfare department in Bolton and then went on to being a welfare officer in Bury and Dorset. In Dorset, I qualified as a social worker and gradually climbed the administrative ladder with local authorities in the Midlands where I ended up as assistant director, acquiring on the way a master's degree in public sector management from the University of Aston. Sadly, the working environment in social services changed throughout the country in later years in response to government policies and I found myself, with many of my contemporaries, more and more out of step with the changed ethos as targets and the business model seemed to displace the old-fashioned commitment to care.
On retirement, I read for a BA with the Open University, studying a variety of subjects including science as well as family and local history which stood me in good stead when I started to research my own family history and to study the medieval legends of St Kenelm and of Adam Bell and his friends. It was my obsession with researching and publishing the St Kenelm story that led to a serious interest in writing and to my current interest in novels for young adults, although I have also written a few short stories. Disgracefully, once written, I have tended to have little interest in the hard work of finding a publisher. I enjoy the craft of writing but not the graft of selling - so said my tutor on a 'creative writing' course I attended. Incidentally, why do so many people turn their noses up at non-fiction? Done well, I believe that that all forms of writing are creative.
My other abiding interests are semi-adventurous travel, nature conservation and middle distance walking. Of course, I read a lot - mostly what my old English teacher would call 'rattling good yarns', rather than the classic literary novel. Is this as reprehensible as I sometimes fear?
I have now returned to live in Dorset. I am recently widowed and have two children. Our daughter lives in London with her two children, a boy and a girl. Our son lives in Australia with his wife and two children, also a boy and a girl.