Retired engineer launches story of his lifetime

John Elliott of Beccles who has written his biography Journey of a Lifetime

John Elliott of Beccles who has written his biography Journey of a Lifetime - Credit: Archant

A north Suffolk man has put pen to paper to document his life from his birth in the 1930s through a world war, marriage and a career in engineering.

John Elliott, who was born in Lowestoft but moved to Beccles in 1991, will be launching his biography – Journey of a Lifetime – at Beccles Books from 10am to 1pm today.

Mr Elliott, now 78, was a structural design draughtsmen employed to work on the world's first passenger hovercraft service and is great grandson to William Elliott, who in 1872 established his own business Elliott and Garrood Engineers in Beccles – a major employer in the town.

He decided to write his biography as a way of justifying his existence on earth, something he said was reinforced by a curator of Beccles Museum who pointed out that there are numerous biographies of great men, but few of ordinary men. He began writing it on December 8, 1998.

He said: 'It started 14 years or so ago when I was at a loose end and I started writing it really for the grandchildren. Last Christmas, when it was all tied up, I decided I wanted some bound copies for the family.


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'Three friends of mine said you really must get it published. I agonised over it for six months because it really exposes my life to the world.

'But I thought it's an opportunity if it does sell to donate any profits to a charity close to my heart.'

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Mr Elliott has chosen to support the End Polio Now campaign – a charity he has supported for a number of years as a Rotary Club member.

His story begins with his birth in Lowestoft in 1935 and moves through his memories of the second world war and home life.

After leaving school, Mr Ellis served an apprenticeship in ship design. Then, at the age of 27, having completed his National Service in the RAF as an air radar mechanic on V-Bombers, moved into highway design and maintenance, qualifying as a chartered engineer, and finishing up as an east area surveyor working from Lowestoft down to Felixstowe.

Mr Elliott said: 'It's a very selfish story all about my life but I hope it is of interest to some people. I never kept a diary in my life, it all came from the back of my mind.'

Copies of his biography at £11.99 are available from Jarrold's and City Book Shop in Norwich, Waterstone's in Lowestoft, Diss Publishing, Chocolate Box in Bungay, Halesworth Books and John Wells in Southwold.

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