A RETIRED PRINTER has written his second children’s novel based on his childhood spent by the railway.

John Renton, 74, from Richmond, recently published his novel the Wizard of the North earlier, based on six children who go looking for a stolen racehorse and donkey.

Mr Renton, who previously worked as a printer, said his childhood in Berwick-upon-Tweed was full of adventures similar to ones in his book, but said it was not specifically based there.

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He said: “It is loosely based on an experience I had as a child. Our kitchen looked out onto a holding bay for a racecourse, and one day we watched as some trainers were trying to get a racehorse into a trailer but it would not go.

“It was only when they brought a donkey into the bay that it followed the donkey into the box. That was my inspiration for the story.”

Another part of the story is inspired by his childhood home, which was built over an old castle. Mr Renton said one day his father was digging in the garden when his leg fell into a deep hole and they found a series of cells that belonged to the castle.

The book follows his earlier offering, The Final Test, a whodunit based around a cricket match between two village teams, with two children taking the lead roles.

Mr Renton got retired cricket umpire Harold “Dickie” Bird to write a forward for the novel, about the importance of village cricket, after sending him a copy.

With the book sales he donated £500 to Guide Dogs for the Blind and £200 to the Dickie Bird Foundation.

The Wizard of the North costs £6.99 and is available from the Castle Hill bookshop in Richmond and from eBay.