West Hill granny's life story hits bookshops shelves

PUBLISHED: 14:58 23 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:03 18 June 2010

A CYCLING, accordion playing West Hill grandmother who turned her hand to writing has this week seen a book, charting the last 84 years of her life hit shop shelves.

A CYCLING, accordion playing West Hill grandmother who turned her hand to writing has this week seen a book, charting the last 84 years of her life hit shop shelves.

Margaret Norman, 89, penned Two Worlds Apart as a Christmas gift for her three grandchildren, only to try her luck with publishers after they said it was so good they wanted their copies signed.

The book, which hit the shelves of major national retailers on Monday, begins with cycling fanatic Margaret's first memories aged five and goes on to tell tales of her travels on a bike and hard times experienced during, and after the Second World War.

Margaret, of West Hill Road, met her husband Ken, 89, through cycling and the couple waited until the end of World War Two to wed in 1946.

She still dons her bike today and said she can cycle for miles. Margaret has also enjoyed a spot of sea-front accordion playing during Sidmouth FolkWeek in recent years.

Of her writing exploits, Margaret, who has lived in East Devon for the last 40 years, said: "I love life and have had quite an interesting one, although it's not been easy. I spent a few years doing it (the book), and once I started I think I got carried away.

"I feel so much has happened in the last year to everybody, the world is not a good place for a lot of people. I want them to have some kind of hope that they have to keep going. I have known what it is like and want people not to give in, that's what I want to achieve with the book.

"Everybody gets bad times, but you've got to pick yourself up is what I want to get over."

Margaret sites the aftermath of World War Two as the bleakest of her memories. A housing shortage meant she, Ken and their newborn son had to live in an army hut with only one light and no running water for three and a half years.

There is no doubt about her fondest memories however, her cycling and camping holidays. "You had everything in a bag on your back, we toured France and England," she said. "I've had a bike ever since I was five and I still cycle now, I can go for miles on level ground.


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