PEOPLE

Peter J W Noble

‘My grandparents were White Russian and Irish Catholic on one side and mainly English on the other. And although I’ll never really know the truth, that might account for why my parents decided to marry in secret. They married in March 1939, went home to their respective parents’ homes afterwards and didn’t tell anyone. They obviously managed to see each other at some point because in November the following year I appeared. My father, after working for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation joined the RAF and I never ...

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Cathy Anholt

‘I have an unusual, and possibly rather annoying gift known as ‘total recall’. This means that I can remember virtually every detail of my life, beginning with a vivid recollection of being swaddled in a tight blanket in my pram. The pram was parked under an apple tree in the garden of our family cottage, where I was born in 1958, the third of eight siblings in an Irish Catholic family. If this all sounds a bit ‘Cider with Rosie’, that’s because we lived just a few miles from Laurie Lee’s ...

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Philip Browne

‘I grew up in Sligo in the west of Ireland, the eldest of three children, two boys and a girl. I was one of a small percentage of Protestants in the town where my Dad was the Church of Ireland clergyman. Sligo is about the same size as Dorchester. We lived in a big eighteenth-century rectory, which had nearly three acres of garden. It was huge and surrounded by a ten-foot wall. As the only Protestant kid in that part of town and living behind these huge walls it was ...

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Anna Ledgard

‘I grew up in Yorkshire where my father was a vicar in a small market town. Vicarage children learn early on that you share your parents, they are not your own because your house is open to everybody day and night. I particularly loved the monthly visits of 12 local clergy, all dressed in long black cassocks, who would come to cooked breakfast before morning communion. Another abiding memory was playing with friends from primary school in the graveyard, we’d bring the dead alive making up their life stories, taking ...

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Paddy Magrane

‘Until I moved to East Devon with my wife and two daughters in 2006, I’d been a bit of a wanderer. I think this restless nature stemmed from being an army child. I was born in 1968 in Bahrain, and moved every two years from then on. We lived in Germany, Northern Ireland, London and Yorkshire, where I went to school. It’s fair to say my A Levels didn’t go quite to plan and, as a result, the university course in history that I’d applied for fell through. As luck would ...

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