Ken finally gets it all down on paper

Words and recent photo by Dave Barry

A woman grew so fed up with her ageing uncle repeating his travel tales that she gave him a big notebook and told him to write it all down.

Ken Pearson picked up the gauntlet and ran with it.

The notes became his autobiography, which has just been published.

David Fowler of Farthings Publishing, which printed the book, says: “Ken is nothing if not verbose and apparently he was repeating stories of where he’d been in the world so regularly that his niece was getting a little fed up.

“For his 87th birthday, in February, she bought him pens, pencils and a large notebook. Whilst he tells me he’s never written a story in his life, he decided to get on with it”.

Recollections, subtitled Around the World in 50 Years, distils Ken’s eventful life into 22 chapters.

Born in Mexborough in 1930, Ken started work on 14 February 1944, aged 14, as an apprentice fitter. He served in the Royal Engineers and the merchant navy, sailing the seven seas.

He did various jobs but spent most of his time working as an engineer for oil companies, repairing, servicing and maintaining heavy machinery.

Ken has travelled and lived all over the world. For 21 years, he lived in Brazil with his Brazilian wife. The couple had a daughter, Jayne, who lives in Brazil and has visited Ken three times. “Each time, it’s been too bloody cold for her”, says Ken, who lived about the same length of time in west Africa.

“I ate a lot of elephant meat, which is quite tasty”, he says. His possessions include a rosewood elephant bought in London in the 1960s.

Ken moved to Scarborough in 1978 because his late sister, Florence Doveton, lived in the town. Florence’s daughter Barbara made an author of her uncle, who has lived at Trinity House in St Sepulchre Street for eight years.