Bungay man and his barrow of food puts roundabout on tourist map

Gordon Knowles wrote a book based on his life in and around Bungay.

Gordon Knowles wrote a book based on his life in and around Bungay. - Credit: James Bass

For 30 years Gordon Knowles rose at the crack of dawn to troop two miles with a wheelbarrow of food to feed the roadside residents of Ditching-ham's 'chicken roundabout'.

Gordon Knowles feeding a chicken at 'Chicken Roundabout', Ditchingham in 2001.

Gordon Knowles feeding a chicken at 'Chicken Roundabout', Ditchingham in 2001. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

In doing so, he catapulted the junction on the A143 to national prominence, created a tourist attraction and secured his own position as one of the region's must cherished eccentrics.

Now, Mr Knowles, 84, has penned his memoirs.

The work, written with the help of local author Tom Honeywood, chronicles his life caring for the chickens until the last remaining few were rehomed in 2010.

He also recounts his childhood in Bungay's Broad Street and his working life at Clays and as a street cleaner.

Among the many characters making appearances is his mother Eva Knowles, herself a popular town figure. Known as 'the lady with the pram', she used to shop for her neighbours using an old pram as a shopping trolley.

He describes regular swimming sessions, from the age of six to 70, at a sandy spot on Bungay Common. It was this pastime which was, in some ways, responsible for his dealings with the chickens.

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He said: 'As I made my way from swimming one morning I saw a bag of corn had fallen off a lorry and split open, so I swept it up and fed the chickens. They were standing by the gate of the land owned by Frank James who happened to be standing there and he said 'they think it's Christmas Day' and I said 'Let them have Christmas every day!' and that's how it started.'

Gordon Knowles, The Ole Chicken Man of Bungay, is priced at £6 and is available at The Chocolate Box in Bungay, Bairds Butchers in Bungay and from Mr Knowles. All proceeds from the book will go to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Have you written your memoirs? Email louisa.lay@archant.co.uk

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