Originally from Glasgow, he first experimented with storytelling during a 40-year career in the Merchant Navy.
Taking a shipmate’s advice, he began to write about his life at sea, and produced his first two collections of short stories – Merchant Navy: What a Life and Merchant Navy: Heroes and Halfwits.
But it was only when he moved to the Yorkshire coast in the 1970s that he realised his full potential. He joined the Scarborough Writers’ Circle and alongside Suzanne Marshall, who would become his wife, co-founded the town’s Writers’ Society, and set about inspiring fellow members – many of whom went on to publish novels as a direct result, they said, of his encouragement and support.
Alongside his own four books, he wrote for magazines and newspapers and as part of his efforts to encourage others to take up writing, once sponsored a competition with a £1,000 first prize.