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Saturday, 01 August 2015

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Retired Cumbrian engineer pens life story

A retired engineer who grew up in Australia as the son of a ‘Ten Pound Pom’ has penned his life story. David Bailey emigrated from his home in Penrith to New South Wales with his family in 1951 when he was just 10.

In his own write: ‘I’m an engineer by trade and have never written a book before. I wanted to let my kids know what I did and to find out about my life,’ said David Bailey

His father Edwin, a carpenter who created two famous coffins used in Doctor Who and Ann of a Thousand Days while working for Shepperton Studios, was offered a job in the ‘new world’.

Edwin was one of a number of British tradesmen who were enticed to Australia with fares from the UK costing just £10.

Soon after, David and his family left the Eden Valley to start a new life on the other side of the world.

The five-week journey on a ship makes up just one of a host of fascinating stories which have shaped David’s life. David, of Croft Terrace, Penrith, said he wanted to get his story down in print for his children and grandchildren to enjoy.

He explained: “I’m an engineer by trade and have never written a book before.

“I wanted to let my kids know what I did and to find out about my life.

“Most of the stories are actually about people but there is also a lot about Carlisle United because I’m a huge fan.”

The tome tells about David’s return to Cumbria when he was nearly 12, before he was uprooted again – this time to Northamptonshire and then Leicestershire.

He recalls his joy at being given the chance to return to his beloved Cumbria after landing a job at Cowans Sheldon, an engineering firm in Carlisle famous for making cranes.

When the site was eventually closed and demolished, David secured a position at the Vickers-Armstrong shipyard in Barrow.

He later returned to live in Penrith after taking up a role at the Distington Engineering Company in Workington, commonly known as Chapel Bank.

David then moved to the Beacon Trailers in Penrith as a fabricator/welder and later on to the British Gypsum plant at Kirkby Thore.

It was during this time he found his love of rowing at Talkin Tarn and began playing rugby for Penrith Rugby Club.

David then tells how he met his future wife Val, who he married in 1974 before they went on to have a son and daughter together.

But one of his favourite tales was the time, before meeting Val, that he and his pal enjoyed a night out in Carlisle.

They were in the County Hotel where they spotted two young ladies.

David explained: “Things were looking good but they left before we plucked up the courage to go over and talk to them.

“We decided to go to another pub and by chance there were two seats next to the same girls.

“Three months later my mate got married to one of those girls and they will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next year at their home in Carlisle.”

Son of a Ten Pound Pom is available from Book Ends in Carlisle, Heaths in Barrow, the New Bookshop in Cockermouth, and the Wordsworth Bookshop in Penrith.



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