New frontier for Fred, 94

Fred Bettess
Fred Bettess

An Alnmouth man has proved that you’re never too old to try new things – by publishing his first ebook at the grand old age of 94.

The Story of Alnmouth has been published via the internet by local historian Fred Bettess.

The book was based on a Master of Letters thesis submitted by Fred’s late wife, Gladys, in 1994 when she was 74.

She had previously gained an honours degree in archaeology from Newcastle University three years earlier.

Tragically, less than three weeks after attending the congregation for the conferment of the degree, she died.

After her death, Fred decided it was important that the knowledge Gladys had gained about Alnmouth should be made more widely available.

“I based the book on Gladys’s thesis, which she herself had planned to publish in some form, but never had the opportunity to do so,” he said.

“The original paperback version came out in 2004 and proved very popular with copies being sold as far away as Australia and the USA.

“The original print run quickly sold out and I have been considering how best to make further copies available.

“Printing further copies looked uneconomical and my family suggested the electronic route.”

Fred himself is no stranger to publication either.

In his professional life, having been head of civil engineering at Sunderland Polytechnic (now Sunderland University) until his retirement in 1978, he wrote several books including Surveying for Archaeologists.

In 2010, aged 92, he published An Alnmouth Scrapbook, which looks at various historical aspects of the village.

“From time to time I have helped people with queries on the history of Alnmouth,” he said.

“This resulted in me having a miscellaneous collection of scraps of information about Alnmouth and I was encouraged to make them available in a book.”

A year later he published Recollections, which details his life from childhood to his retirement in Alnmouth.