John's writing career's shining, thanks to salon support

John's writing career's shining, thanks to salon support

A chance conversation on a boat trip has prompted a writer to record the history and attractions of Yorkshire coastal resorts in a new series of visitor guidebooks.

John Forth, of Swainby, has just published his first book - Hornsea Mere: A Visitor's Guide to Trains and Boats and Planes... and Wassand, supported by Shine Stokesley.

The 54-page book is packed with facts about Yorkshire's biggest natural freshwater lake, which is a haven for birds and wildfowl less than a mile from the sea.

Sponsored by local supporters including Stephen MacVean, owner of Shine Hairdressing in Stokesley, the book has already sold enough copies for a £100 donation to be made to Hornsea Inshore Rescue.

John, a retired employment manager, explained: "After we retired my best man and I went on a three-day road trip to catch up with old friends. On the way back we decided to come back via all the Yorkshire coast resorts and ended up in a boat on Hornsea Mere.

"After telling us all about it, the skipper said 'someone should write a book about it'. I thought to myself 'winter's coming and I don't like winter so I could fill the time by writing the book'.

"The aim is to raise awareness about this amazing glacial feature but also to raise money for Hornsea Inshore Rescue, which is funded purely by donations."

Stephen, who is John's hairdresser, agreed to contribute with sponsorship. "I'm very proud of where we live and all the proceeds for the sale of the book are going to a very worthy cause, so I was delighted to help towards the printing," he said.

Hornsea Mere is two miles long by three quarters of a mile wide, 12ft deep, covers 467 acres and attracts more than 250 species of birds and wildfowl in a year.

Other facts John has unearthed about the mere include Charlotte Bronte visiting in 1853, a hurricane starting there in 1723 that unroofed 24 houses and it being dubbed one of the UK’s Seven Natural Wonders in a BBC2 programme in 2005.

"The most unexpected fact to me was that the mere was a base for 248 RAF Squadron sea planes in the First World War. Following one incident, co-pilot flight commander Paul Douglas Robertson was awarded the George Cross for trying to save his pilot after their plane crashed on the western tip of the mere, “ added John.

John's second book in the series, on Withernsea, is ready for printing and he is writing the third on Hornsea Town, to be followed by Bridlington, Filey, Scarborough, Robin Hood's Bay and Whitby. All of them can be purchased from Amazon.