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Tale of Crookham lad makes it into print

Heather Pentland and Valerie Glass, from TillVAS, with Dennis and Vivien Wilcock at the front.

Heather Pentland and Valerie Glass, from TillVAS, with Dennis and Vivien Wilcock at the front.

The fascinating life story of a north Northumberland man, which came to light thanks to a serendipitous meeting last year, has made it into print.

Last summer, the Gazette reported that Valerie Glass, a member of Till Valley Archaeological Society (Tillvas), was trying to research 19th-century Crookham man Andrew Todd when Heather Pentland, chairman of Tillvas, happened upon some visitors in Ford Church.

To her astonishment, one of them was the great-grandson of Andrew Todd – Joe Bartas, who had travelled from San Francisco and came to north Northumberland accompanied by his relative Vivien Wilcock, from North Yorkshire.

They helped to fill in the gaps and provide much more material for Tillvas’ first annual exhibition.

The display about Andrew Todd aroused a great deal of interest and several visitors asked if there were plans to produce a book about this Crookham lad.

Vivien was inspired to put pen to paper over the winter and the result is a book of more than 60 pages telling the life story of Andrew, illustrated with photographs and including a transcript of the diary of his voyage from London to Nelson, New Zealand.

The book will be on sale at this year’s exhibition at the Old Bakery, Heatherslaw Mill, from May 20 to September 25 (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, bank holiday Sundays and Mondays, 11am-3pm). Admission is free and a quiz is available for children.

It will have as its theme Border Warfare focusing on Flodden and local people who served in the First World War.

 

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