The life and times of a former mayor of St Ives, who rose from being a pit boy in the North East to the chairman of an NHS trust with 750 staff and a budget of £170m, have been told in a new book which started life as a family record.
Michael Lynch, 77, who had been battling major health problems, originally wanted to write down his life story as a memento for his six grandchildren should the worst happen.
But he was persuaded to “go public” and publish the material as a biography by his wife Sheila.
The original 200 self-published copies sold out within 12 weeks and raised more than £1,700 for four good causes which have supported Mr Lynch - the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie and Hunts Community Cancer Network.
Mr Lynch, who now lives in Wyton, said: “It is a contemporary social history of a working class secondary schoolboy who failed the 11 plus who went on to have a successful and varied business, civic and social life.”
The Life and Observations of a Hebburn Lad is now available on Amazon, both as a paperback and on Kindle from Amazon.
The book is named after Hebburn, near Newcastle, where Mr Lynch lived before moving to St Ives nearly 50 years ago.
Mr Lynch’s working life started in the mines as an apprentice mechanical engineer and took in the shipyards before working in a wide variety of jobs, leading to him joining British Gas, his last post as an employee. The job, as project development manager of the Greenwich Peninsula scheme, involved gaining planning consents for cleaning up the 320 acres of contaminated land for the redevelopment of the site where the 02 arena now stands.
His biography also takes in how he became chairman of the National Association of Youth Club’s national members’ council, representing 360,000 youth club members, at 19, and winning a scholarship to the USSR in 1961, the same year he had tea with the Queen Mother and subsequently met the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the royal family.
He was a local councillor, becoming mayor of St Ives, and chaired the former Huntingdonshire Primary Care Trust which was responsible for health care in the district.
Mr Lynch is particularly proud that the book is in the Word Library/Archive in his home area of South Shields where copies are available to borrow from South Tyneside libraries.