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My North East: By its Famous Sons & Daughters - Book Review

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by Margaret Waters (subscribe)
A former teacher and charity worker from the North East of England, I love people and places and like to try out new experiences wherever possible. Capturing that 'perfect pic' is all part of the pleasure. Access issues are a particular interest.
Published December 8th 2013
A glittering array of stars give insight to inspiration
My North East book cover

The brand-new glossy hard-back that should be on every northerner's coffee table or bookshelf this year is the beautifully presented 'My North East, by its Famous Sons and Daughters.

An inspired 200 page edition of beautiful photography of the North East with interviews and anecdotes from her famous protégée on why they love certain places in the area and what connects them still, even though they may have moved away, travelled the world and become extremely famous.
Sting with Kathryn Tickell at The Sage 2009
Sting with Kathryn Tickell at The Sage 2009

With contributions from musical luminaries such as Sting, 'Dire Straits' guitarist, Mark Knopfler, 'AC/DC's Brian Johnson, 'Lindisfarne' legends Ray Jackson and Ray Laidlaw, Alan Price and Eric Burdon of the iconic 1960's band 'The Animals' and doyen of the Northumberland pipes Kathryn Tickell, this book has broad appeal.
Bobby and Jack Charlton in their Team colours
Jack and Bobby Charlton in their team colours - picture courtesy of Daily Mail

Some of the North's most famous footballer sons, Sir Bobby Charlton and his brother Jack, England 1966 World Cup winners; former England, Barcelona and Newcastle United manager, Sir Bobby Robson and other celebrated sports personalities Alan Shearer, cricketer Paul Collingwood and Olympic and Paralympic Gold Medallists Kat Copeland and Josef Craig have also proffered their input.

From the world of film, television and theatre, actors Robson Green, Mark Benton,Tim Healey, Jimmy Nail, Gina McKee and scriptwriter extraordinaire Ian la Frenais who, with his partner Dick Francis created 'The Likely Lads' and 'Auf Wiedersehen Pet' and who continue to be Hollywood script doctors, have also made contributions along with locally well know television and radio presenters. There's even a Hairy Biker called Si King and former Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Forgive me if I've missed out anyone's favourites, but the list of glittering stars shines like the night sky over Northumberland. The roll call of celebrated sons and daughters who call the east coast area between North Yorkshire and the Scottish Borders their homeland is enough to fill anyone with Northern connections with a sense of pride.

Robson Green and Mark Benton, who are currently gracing our television screens with 'Tales from Northumberland' and Strictly Come Dancing are just two who happily recall their favourite places.

Robson Green and Mark Benton in Northern Lights
Robson Green and Mark Benton as Competing Santas in 'Northern Lights',

The actors, who starred together in the 2006 comedy drama, 'Northern Lights', a tale of two brothers-in-law that try to outdo each other with their Christmas decorations, epitomised the jovial nature of of the wise-cracking Geordie alongside his more subdued and somewhat down-trodden in-law and made us laugh at the intricacies of married life at Christmastime.

Mark, who recently played 'Chalky' in the top TV drama 'Waterloo Road', describes himself as 'a soft Southerner these days' but pays regular visits back to the North East to visit his native Teeside. He has chosen a stretch of coastline at Redcar as his favourite spot, while Robson Green recalls many fishing trips with his dad to the River Coquet in Northumberland, where his love of fishing began. Robson says coming back to the North East gives him a 'sense of identity'; the son and grandson of hard-working miners and although his acting and television presenting career has taken him all over the world, he is proud of his family roots and always feels at home whenever he comes back to the region.

Devised by Anne Graham and Michael Hamilton, with interviews collated over several years and beautiful landscape photography from Graeme Peacock, the book is designed to be 'dipped into' and enjoyed by everyone.

There is a Foreword by Lady Elsie Robson and profits from sales of the book are going to 'The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation' which helps cancer patients in the region.

The book is a wonderful advertisement for the whole area and is great for locals, potential visitors and ex-pats alike. I'm sending a few to Santa for family members who no longer live in the area. I've been having a sneaky peek and I don't want to put it down.

It seems that no matter how far you travel in life, there's something about the North East that keeps calling you back.

northeast map
Map showing Counties in the North East

The book is available online and at all good retailers.
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Why? New book, perfect Christmas present for anyone with North East Connections, Good for Locals and Visitors, Enjoyable Reading, Well-known Celebrities,
When: Available now
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