I WAS EXTREMELY GRATEFUL FOR THE SUPPORT I RECEIVED following the publication of ‘Chasing Crows.’ Many have said encouraging things about the poetry but equally importantly, many have expressed the pleasure they have had from the accompanying illustrations.
The poems in ‘Apple Man’ are in the main, developed in the narrative style in which I am most comfortable. They are meant to be accessible and amenable for reading out loud. They are diverse and some are more serious than others. Some have a “home” on the West coast of British Columbia and some are rooted in the foothills of the Peak District of South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Others are from everywhere or anywhere. I hope you enjoy them and also of course the illustrations with which many are accompanied.
‘Apple Man’ has 47 poems and 23 illustrations.
I am pleased to acknowledge the skill and interest of past and present members of the Victoria MS Art Therapy group, the generosity of my three guest illustrators and also the cooperation and skill of Scott Wingfield of Art Ink Print. This has all been made possible through the continued financial assistance of the Chadwick Foundation which enables me to assure all who buy the book that every dollar or pound generated will go directly to assisting the cause.
I met Peter on my first day at school. He was a relatively near neighbour of ours on the edge of Loxley village in South Yorkshire not far from the big steel city of Sheffield. Our dairy farm at Loxley House Farm was about fifteen minutes’ walk away across the fields from Peter’s home. That snowy day in 1947 was the beginning of eleven years attending the same schools and playing numerous games of football (as in real football with a round ball) and cricket together. We watched many Sheffield Wednesday games together and remained friends despite my absence at times overseas. Peter, who was a fully qualified accountant and financial adviser, continued to play cricket until he realised that his hand eye coordination had deteriorated well beyond what was normal for his age and level of fitness.
After he found he had MS and after another friend was also diagnosed I decided that when I could I would raise funds and support research and the therapeutic care for those living with the disease. My first involvement was a 32 mile walk from Bradford (where I had worked in the university for many years) to home to coincide with my 60th birthday. This eventually produced over £1,500 in sponsorship. A self-published book of poetry titled Blackberries followed in 2006 raising a similar amount. Since moving to Canada I have published two collections of poetry in 2013 (reprinted 2015) and 2016 with all the revenue to MS charities. I have also allocated all profits from sales of my two books of short stories (2012 and 2015) to the same cause as well as earnings from my ‘Just Like Downton’ presentations.
Richard and Gwenda Chadwick have provided me with generous financial backing for the production of ‘Chasing Crows’ and ‘Apple Man’ from their Chadwick Foundation. Richard and I lived in the same university residence in Leeds for four years from 1960 and have been friends ever since. He was my best man when Elaine and I were married and vice versa the following year when he and Gwenda were married.