Novelist goes back to his roots in Worthing

Donald McDonald with his books, The Bridge, A Village Tale and For the Glory of Stevenson

Donald McDonald with his books, The Bridge, A Village Tale and For the Glory of Stevenson

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AUTHOR Donald McDonald has made a sentimental journey back to Worthing, his home town.

Feeling like the prodigal son returning, he travelled from Boston in Lincolnshire to see how Worthing has changed over the years.

Enjoying Worthing beach around 1952

Enjoying Worthing beach around 1952

Donald was born in Worthing in 1950, a middle child of six. His mum, Elizabeth, died a few weeks ago and he promised he would journey back to see their old house and around the town.

His father, Alexander, was in the Navy and after the war, in 1946, his parents moved into Chesterfield Road. They lived there until 1957, when the family decamped to Malta.

“Mum more or less brought us up single-handedly as my father was away in the Navy,” said Donald.

“I have many fond memories of Saturday morning cinema at The Rivoli, the beach and primary school.

Donald with his Aunt Mary, outside the front door of 42 Chesterfield Road around 1952

Donald with his Aunt Mary, outside the front door of 42 Chesterfield Road around 1952

“There used to be an army camp at the end of the road. Behind Durrington station, as far as you could see, was meadowland. We used to climb up the embankment and on the other side was just playing fields.

“We played a game called Gingerbread, which involved jumping down and running across the tracks.”

During his recent visit, Donald ventured to Chesterfield Road and stood on the station platform, where he stood well back this time.

“The house is still there, though they were built to last about ten to 20 years,” he said. “But the lamppost I used to provide light for me to read my comics is no longer there.

Donald with brother John, round the corner from Chesterfield Road, possibly outside the Wilson's home, around 1954

Donald with brother John, round the corner from Chesterfield Road, possibly outside the Wilson's home, around 1954

“The memories flooded back. I have fond memories of receiving a trumpet and drum for Christmas and going out to play them.

“On Strand Parade was a Rediffusion rental shop, where we watched The Cisco Kid starring Duncan Renaldo through the window before we finally got a television.

“I walked round the corner to where the Wilson family lived. Helen occasionally babysat for mum, and Arthur, with Brylcream slicked back hair and a modern racing bike, was a hero. He was a bit older than me and my brother.

“When we went to Malta, it was a time when the sun was already setting on the British Empire after the Suez debacle, nevertheless the contrast in environment was startling.”

The family returned to England on Christmas Eve, 1959, and were in Worthing for two weeks before Donald’s dad was posted up north.

Saturday morning cinema in Worthing fired Donald’s imagination and he has written four novels, The Bridge, For the Glory of Stevenson, A Village Tale and Ignatius Tagg-Dark Horse.

He said: “They have garnered excellent, five-star reviews on Amazon books, which is encouraging.”

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