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Norwich’s octogenarian author and blogger

PUBLISHED: 10:32 24 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:03 24 December 2017

Barry Egerton has released a book aged 84. Picture: Matt Ware

Barry Egerton has released a book aged 84. Picture: Matt Ware

Archant

Like so many things, it all started with a chat in the pub over a few beers.

Barry Egerton has released a book aged 84. Picture: Matt WareBarry Egerton has released a book aged 84. Picture: Matt Ware

Barry Egerton had been spending his retirement doing voluntary work for the ambulance service, playing golf and taking part in amateur opera.

But that chance encounter in the pub with a University of East Anglia (UEA) lecturer led to him entering academia at the age of 67, graduating at 72, and using his studies as the inspiration to publish his first book at 83.

Now Mr Egerton, of Thorpe St Andrew, has taken to blogging and social media to help promote There Was a Time, whis book hich charts the history of Great Britain from its formation in 1707 in an easily-digestible format.

“I was told by the publisher my best chance as a first time author was to use social media to get myself known,” he said.

“In the pre-internet days, I was a trouble-shooter and teacher in the IT industry working in emerging technologies on the big mainframe IBM computers, but things have changed a lot in the past 30 years.

“I had to call for help, but I’m becoming more adept at the workings of the blog and learning about social media.”

Mr Egerton, now 84, was accepted onto a history degree at the UEA after being invited to write an essay on why Britain joined the first world war.

He said: “There were quite a few older people there. Not as old as me, but within 10 to 15 years of me. I got along quite well with the younger ones. They were very respectful, and always listened to what I said.”

After graduating, he taught history in adult education with the Workers Education Association.

Friends and relatives persuaded him to write the book, as his own frustration grew about how Britain’s modern history was so often glossed over in schools.

“I consider it a mistake in policy to devalue history teaching in schools to the degree where many people know very little about their own country, which I consider to have the richest history of all. People learn a lot about the Tudors, but not so much about Britain’s role in the world in the past 300 years.”

The book is available from Jarrolds, Waterstones and online.

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