24 July 2014

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Former news editor studies UK islands in new book

A former regional press journalist who now edits a specialist magazine has had a book published about UK islands.

Robin Jones, a former news editor at the Birmingham Evening Mail, has written Island Fever about all the islands off the coast of England and Wales.

He has always been fascinated by islands and has compiled material on them for 26 years but wrote the book in just a few months, which includes many of his own photos.

Robin joined the Birmingham Evening Mail in 1982 as a district reporter in Solihull before working his way up to the newsdesk but he left the title in 1997 and set up the Heritage Railway national magazine, which he still edits.

He said: “I did not set out to write a book on islands, but have always been fascinated by them – their remoteness, how each island develops into own flora, fauna and in some cases individual species, and also its own social structures, often very independent of the mainland.

“Many of them also made global history in a big way despite their small size, like the world’s first cross-water radio message sent by Marconi to Flat Holm, and hovercraft being invented on the Isle of Wight.

“My first visit was to the Scilly Isles, Britain’s own version of Hawaii, in 1984, and I suppose I began inadventantly collecting material then.”

Robin’s book includes information on islands ranging in size from obscure ones in the Bristol Channel to well-known ones like Anglesey and the Isle of Wight, writing about the unique features of each one.

He has had previous books published, including a number on railways, but said the latest one was his best work.

Island Fever is published by Ian Allan Publishing and is available from bookshops and online.



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