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Former regional journalist pens childhood memoir

An award-winning regional newspaper journalist has penned a book about his childhood torn between England and Scotland.

Frank Hurley, left, who has worked for a number of newspapers in the London area and Scotland, has just had his autobiography published, called The Boy in the Trenchcoat.

It tells the story of him growing up in post-war Croydon, where his Scottish mother had come to live with her husband, and the difficulties faced by his family.

In the poignant book, Frank tells of the times when his mother, whose heart belonged in Scotland, would hitchhike to her home country with her children in tow.

He said: “She got homesick and we would drop everything and she would hitchhike to Scotland with my little brother Arthur, who would have been about three, my older sister May who was 11 and me – I was about seven.

“We would catch lifts with lorry drivers. Things were different in those days, people were more inclined to help each other.

“My mother would try all sorts of tricks – sometimes we would get the train and she would buy a ticket for herself and then we would hide when the guard came around.

“We were always seesawing between Scotland and Croydon.”

The book tells of how the family had to survive the ‘hell’ of living in homeless hostels when they returned to the London borough.

Frank also recounts tales from his childhood about how he stole flowers from people’s gardens to sell in the local market and was a budding garden-shed chemist until an experiment went wrong, killing a neighbour’s cat.

During his time as a journalist, he worked for newspapers including the London Evening News, South London Press, Croydon Times, Sunday Mail, Scottish Daily Express, and The Glaswegian.

  • The Boy in a Trenchcoat is published by Macdonald Media Publishing and is available for £9.99.