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Sidmouth celebrity’s book reprinted

13:00 17 May 2014

Gerald Counter-A Life in Sidmouth. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 3902-17-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on MyPhotos24.

Gerald Counter-A Life in Sidmouth. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 3902-17-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on MyPhotos24.


The memoirs of a well-known Sidmothian are being reprinted by popular demand – bringing another boost in the fight against the condition that stopped him writing it alone.

Gerald Counter was penning his autobiography when motor neurone disease claimed the use of his hands, but he had made a new friend in Julian King, who was researching Sidmouth’s history and learned he was a wealth of information.

Together they completed the first draft of A Life in Sidmouth – only a day before Gerald’s death, which was published last November.

Julian was determined to see it in print, for his friend’s family and for the town, and it has so far raised nearly £700 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

All the copies have sold out, but he is meeting demand with a second print run, of 50 books, which he says will be the last.

Gerald, who passed away last July, lived in Sidmouth for all of his 86 years and was widely known from his time as a South West Water engineer, through which he met countless characters.

His job took him into houses across the Sid Valley and fed his love of meeting colourful characters, ranging from the owner of Sidbury Manor to a former editor of the Sidmouth Herald.

Readers have said his book is filled with stories as only Gerald could tell them – a comment Julian said making the 18 months of work he put in worthwhile.

He also has audio recordings of his conversations with his late friend that he is thinking of releasing, but is currently writing his own memoirs.

Together with Gerald’s daughters, Olwen and Susan, he thanked everyone for all the support they have given to the project.

The book will be available from Paragon Books from May 26.


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