Bexhill Museum patron, comedian and actor Eddie Izzard was at his father John’s side on Sunday as John was kept busy at a book-signing at the museum.
John has penned Izzard: A Bexhill Family Journey, published by Bexhill Museum Ltd. and now available from the museum shop at £10.
He is so well known locally he signed 50 copies in the first hour. At times the queue stretched the length of the museum’s Education Room and out to the Egerton Road doors.
To many the author is known by his first name, Harold; to others by his second, John. In consequence, he spent the afternoon asking purchasers which way they wanted their books signed.
John began working on the book back in 1980. Asked if he was pleased with the result, he says: “Relieved more like it!”
After 36 years of professional life with British Petroleum as an accountant he devoted another 30 to working locally in the voluntary sector.
“Did I enjoy writing it? No, I needed it. I have to keep working.”
John was born in 1928. In an eventful life, he has served as a Royal Naval volunteer, worked overseas and made a major contribution to the community life of Bexhill through voluntary service, notably to the community centre at Sidley House.
In his introduction, John explains: “During most of my time preparing my family history I was confident I knew what had to be put into print. Then I received from Bexhill Museum a copy of the letter I wrote on our school holiday in Bexhill in August 1942 to Mr Hodges, the ‘father’ of the house in St Albans where I was a war-time evacuee from Bexhill County School for Boys. The letter indicates to me the beginning of an influence on my life.”
Once it was clear the invasion of the south coast was no longer imminent the evacuees were able to return home for the school holidays.
Even so, Harold writes to Mr Hodges about the bombs which narrowly missed Bexhill Hospital (he scrounged some souvenir shrapnel) and adds details of an aerial dog-fight: ‘I am sending you a piece of a Jerry a Beaufighter knocked out when he pressed the button.”
John’s researches take the family history back to Rotherfield in 1650.
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