Grandad brings the past to life as he releases first book

Felton author Syd Carr.
Felton author Syd Carr.

He was raised in a tough North East street, endured a torrid time in the mines and went on to join the Army – now a Felton grandfather has captured his upbringing in his first ebook.

The Fourth Lad, by 68-year-old Syd Carr, is a coming-of-age tale set mainly in and around Ashington where he grew up.

His memoirs are set from 1945 to 1965, chronicling the first 20 years of Syd’s life.

And his work has received positive feedback from readers.

“With bumps, bruises, laughs and sighs, it is my journey from Geordie kid via a pit lad to struggling soldier,” said Syd, who is a retired Lieutenant Colonel.

“It is a personal narrative of my memories from my first 20 years.

“As well as being a good story, I believe it is also a comment on the social climate of the time and a historical note.

“One of the reasons why I wrote the book was to record the family history for my grandchildren and my siblings’ grandchildren.”

Syd was born at the end of the Second World War and was the fourth lad of 11 children.

By his own admission, he had a chauvinistic father and a self-obsessed, vindictive mother.

Raised in Pont Street, which he described as being, at the time, the toughest street in one of the toughest mining towns of the North East, Syd says he had to learn quickly how to survive his environment and his parents.

When he left school at 15, his father ensured that Syd followed his three older brothers to work in the local coal mine.

During this time, he says he had a difficult encounter with a dead man and endured a short stint in hell.

But when he was old enough, Syd followed his older brothers and became the fourth lad in the family to join the Army.

The book also tells of Syd’s love interest, who he finally meets after two years in the Forces and his life changes forever.

Syd, who is married to Beth, said: “It is my story of survival, coming of age and search for love – it is often hilarious, often sad, occasionally harrowing, but ultimately uplifting.”

The ebook is available from website Amazon and has received encouraging feedback.

It has been described as a ‘real page turner’ and a ‘great read’.

Syd said: “I am really proud to have had my first book published and that people have read it and have given positive feedback and had a good giggle.”

Syd has the second part of his memoirs written in draft form.

They cover his time in the Army, until he left in 1999, aged 55.

He hopes his writing career doesn’t stop here.

“I would like to write some fiction about the military and about the North East, especially about Ashington,” he said.

Visit Amazon to purchase the ebook, priced £4.09 on Kindle.