Book recalls man’s ‘great childhood’ in the ‘paradise’ of Kirkby

Jonathan Evans, whose book brings to life his happy childhood days in Kirkby.
Jonathan Evans, whose book brings to life his happy childhood days in Kirkby.

A retired man has described his first book as ‘an affectionate look at Kirkby’ and his ‘great childhood’ in the town.

Jonathan Evans, 69, who now lives in Bristol, has based the audio book, ‘The Mystery Of Ernie Taylor’s Abdomen’, on his memories and misadventures in Kirkby during the 1950s and 1960s.

“I loved Kirkby, and I had some of my happiest days there,” said Jonathan, who has not only written the book, published by Tangent Books, but also narrates it.

“The book is full of short stories and lots of references to local people and places. Many of the stories are based on real events. Things were never perfect but, in some respects, Kirkby was paradise, with an adventure around every street corner.”

Jonathan went to Morven Park Infant School, Kirkby Folly Junior School and Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Mansfield before leaving Kirkby to study at Liverpool University.

He then embarked on a career as a university lecturer and as an educational consultant, with his work taking him all over the world, including Australia, where he lived for several years.

Jonathan was encouraged to take up writing by his three children to preserve stories he told them when they were young. He said: “One of my tales was then accepted by a literary festival, and that kicked me off.”

He attributes his love of storytelling to his grandmother, Ada Knight. He recalled: “I used to sit on her knee in front of an open fire, and she used to tell me stories. They were nearly always rude and with hilarious endings!”

Jonathan has a sister, Sue Weston, who still lives in Kirkby. He is now hoping to meet many of his former Kirkby mates at the book’s launch at The Diamond Community Hub on Thursday, September 26 from 7 pm.