The residents and staff at Aldringham Court Care Home in Leiston, Suffolk, are beaming with pride as they celebrate the literary success of their remarkable resident, Alison Paul.

Recently, Alison has seen the publication of two captivating books, based on the diaries of her grandfather, Robert R. Shankland, recording his adventures as a young man.

Alison's grandfather, Robert R. Shankland, meticulously recorded his travels from Cardiff to South Africa in 1892 in a series of little black diaries.

Sent away for a year by his Victorian father at the age of 20, Robert documented his journeys around South Africa, capturing not only his experiences but also the local wildlife through his sketches.

These precious diaries were left to Alison, who has skilfully edited them to create two engaging books: Maiden Voyage Celticburn and Travels in South Africa.

“I grew up listening to snippets of my grandfather's stories, but it wasn’t until I discovered his diaries that I could fully appreciate the scope of his adventures,” Alison said.

“Publishing these books has been a way to honour his memory and share his incredible journey with the world.”

His detailed notes also provided a vivid account of a young man learning the ropes of the family business, which involved organising cargo shipments from across the globe back to England.

This journey, undertaken during the early days of steam boats, includes fascinating stories of navigating the Suez Canal and adapting to the challenges of maritime travel.

The first two books, embellished with Robert’s sketches, offer a unique glimpse into the past, blending travelogue with personal reflections and illustrations.

Alison’s dedication to preserving and sharing her grandfather's legacy doesn’t stop here.

She is currently working on two more books, Ships and India, which will further delve into Robert's life and experiences.

“We are incredibly proud of Alison and her accomplishments,” said Elaine Holmes, Activities CoOrdinator at Aldringham Court.

“Her work honours her family, and their adventures, beautifully.”

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