Brothers in lockdown inspires new book about close-knit Wakefield community

A family of brothers from Wakefield have put pet to paper for a new book about their lives and their community, inspired by the Covid lockdown

Friday, 11th June 2021, 3:42 pm
Brothers in arms.... (l-r) John (66), Richard (65), Peter (64), Ian (62) David (60) and Paul (54).

The Reynolds grew up in Kettlethorpe and Wrenthorpe in the 1950s, 60 and 70s, but it was not until last year when social distancing was put in place that they became closer than ever.

The six siblings would have regular online gatherings over the internet, which sparked a flurry of nostalgic tales about growing up in a tight-knit community.

Richard, the second oldest at 65-years-old, said: "Throughout lockdown we became more in touch as a family than we had been for some years.

The boy during a Butlins holiday in 1963.

"It made us realise we had let too much pass by unacknowledged and unrecorded. The stock of anecdotes about parents, the Kettlethorpe neighbourhood, school, relatives, holidays, Christmas, friends, pubs, becoming adults, kept flowing enthusiastically until we had enough to fill a book.

"Regretfully, we have little knowledge of our own parents’ early lives and did not want the same position for our families.

"I drew the short straw and took on the responsibility for piecing it all together into a story we could all agree on."

Richard said they found a "tonne" of photos in lofts and drawers to help illustrate the book, which has been named Six Grow Up in Yorkshire: A Childhood History

Mum June with the three eldest sons at Kettlethorpe, late 1950s.

And while they are proud of the book, they are not so proud of their antics as mischievous young boys.

But there are also uplifting stories about their parents, the holidays around Yorkshire, along with family cars, 70s fashion and music, the estate Subbuteo league, 10-hour 15-a-side football games and their days spent at various schools, including Kettlethorpe Junior and Infants, Standbridge Lane Primary, Kettlethorpe City High, Thornes House and Outwood Grange.

Self-published, it contains over 260 photos packed into 200 pages.

Richard said: “The book itself is almost a by-product, the real bonus was the chats and jokes between us which has brought us all so much closer - even our Paul who has just moved to Spain, and given us some massive laughs and more than a few tears.

The book contains hundreds of photos.

"It would not have happened without lockdown. I can recommend the therapy!”

The book is priced at £10 and around £2 for postage. There is no profit being made from the book, with the price covering publishing costs.

Also, for each book sold, £1.50 goes towards to Macmillan Cancer support, who looked after the brothers' mum, June, in the final few months of her life.

Email [email protected] for further details.