PEOPLE

Mitch Norman

Robin Mills went to Bridport to meet musician Mitch Norman. This is his story. My family came from Swindon, Wiltshire, to Bridport when I was a boy. My parents bought a snack bar in South Street, which was the only place in town with a juke box and pinball machine. The records on the juke box were changed every week according to the hit parade, so that was how I developed my interest in popular music. My brother had an old jazz guitar, and he left it lying around, so of ...

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Havana Marking

Robin Mills went to Toller Whelme, Dorset, to meet film maker Havana Marking. I was born in the original Charing Cross Hospital, which was proper central London, on the Strand. I grew up in the West End, when the West End was very unlike it is today; when Covent Garden was still a market and there were lots of secret alleyways for us kids to have a great time exploring and having fun in. I really enjoyed growing up in London, but I was very lucky to have Dorset links. My ...

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James Crowden

Robin Mills went to Winsham, Somerset, to meet writer James Crowden. This is his story. “I was born in January 1954 in Stoke Damerel, a roughish bit of Plymouth overlooking Devonport Dockyard. Father was in the Navy and ended up as chief engineer of Ark Royal. So I was brought up in Tavistock and discovered that both places were deeply associated with my ancestors 200 years ago. One, an Irish gunner in the Napoleonic Wars, called Dennis Crowden, a bit of a rebel, got flogged off Madras for drunkenness and insolence ...

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Julie De'Ath

Julia Mear met Julie De’Ath Lancaster in Honiton, Devon. This is Julie’s story: “I was born in Nuthall, Nottinghamshire, after my father, Arthur De’Ath, went there to work for Rolls Royce. My two brothers and I went to school in Eastwood. Growing up for me was wonderful really. Our mother, a highly intelligent woman was never in a situation to fulfil her dreams or potential. She wanted to make sure that all of us had the opportunities denied her. I started ballet when I was little and I also did violin, ...

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Dr David Allen

Julia Mear met David Allen at his home in Higher Quantock, Stockland, Devon: “My father was born in New Zealand where his father was a school master at Wanganui Collegiate. In due course, he won a scholarship to Cambridge where, on arrival, he met a young Welshman, Peter Watkin Williams, who came from Stockland. Years later, Peter introduced Denis Allen to his much older sister Della, who was to become my mother. They married in Hong Kong in 1939. Having gained entry to the Diplomatic Service, Denis was posted to China ...

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