I grew up in the Dingle, just up the road from Phil Brady and at the bottom of Madryn Street where Ringo was born. The Dingle has produced some great artists, like Ringo, Phil, Billy Fury, Gerry Marsden (from Gerry and the Pacemakers) and John Lennon’s parents, Alf and Julia, as well as his Aunt Mimi.
I attended the same school as Ringo, Billy Fury (when he was Ronnie Wycherley) and, for a short time, Alf Lennon. When Alix and I married back in 1987, we lived in Teilo Street, opposite that
primary school, St. Silas.
We soon moved out to near Penny Lane, with our three daughters; Philippa, Lauren and Ashleigh. They were all born at Oxford Street Maternity Hospital, where John Winston Lennon had been born. They then attended Dovedale School, where John Lennon and George Harrison had attended.
When I was signed off work in the summer of 2000, I never dreamed I wouldn’t work again; but that is what happened. They diagnosed me with fibromyalgia syndrome and osteoarthritis among other delights! My doctor, the late Peter Griffiths, was an inspiration to me and encouraged me to find something to occupy my mind as the body was slowing down. I had gone from playing football, cricket and golf to, within 2 years, not being able to walk 50 yards without painkillers and knee supports: it wasn’t long before I was walking with a cane.
Being involved as a parent at Dovedale School brought me into contact with Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, who, through our school charity, had donated funds for our school playground. A former pupil, Stan Williams, put me in touch with the London Beatles Fan Club (which became the British Beatles Fan Club), which I began writing for. I had found a way to keep my mind occupied. I soon became obsessed with finding out everything to do with The Beatles, as my whole life had been surrounded by them so far. So began a 9 year journey which resulted in my first book, Liddypool: Birthplace of the Beatles being published in 2009 by Glyn Morris of Dalton Watson Fine Books. It was a bit of fun for me and my contentment was realised when I had a book on the shelves at a real bookshop; Waterstones. I had made it.
What I never realised was what would follow. The book became successful and the first edition sold out on less than two years. They printed a second edition in 2011 and that sold out too, being followed by a third edition in 2017.
My second book, The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles was published in 2013 containing the many people, 104 of them, involved in the musical evolution of The Beatles. That received so many great reviews, with many exclusive interviews and photographs not found in any other book.
From that book, I was invited to be the historian, and Associate Producer, for a documentary film, Looking for Lennon, which was nominated for a National Film Award. What an honour and privilege to work on that.
The film’s producer, Garry Popper, then suggested he and I write a book that grew out of the Fab one hundred and Four book, about The Beatles drummers. We started with 12 drummers and I discovered another 11, making 23 in all! That book became Finding the Fourth Beatle, which again has received many wonderful reviews.
I even published my first crime fiction novel, Inspector Rocke, which is set in Liverpool in 1960, and includes The Beatles too. More of those are planned as well.
There are many other projects I am working on, which keep me in mischief! I have, because of my books and film, been invited to so many Beatles events, conventions and festivals, in America, Holland, Germany and across the UK.
I feel so blessed and privileged.