From rad­i­cal dis­senters to sell-out stars

Com­mu­nity ed­i­tor Mort Smith reviews a new book about some of the more well known res­i­dents of the Chilterns

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES -

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N2012, DJ Kelly pub­lished two small vol­umes about res­i­dents of Chal­font St Peter, with all prof­its go­ing to The Cel­funde In­her­i­tance, the lo­cal his­tory and her­itage group. The book­lets, which high­lighted some of the vil­lage’s sig­nif­i­cant, wor­thy and down­right dis­rep­utable res­i­dents, out­sold ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ at Chal­font Books (which sadly is no longer with us) and proved par­tic­u­larly popular around Christ­mas time.

Ear­lier this year, en­cour­aged by the huge amount of in­ter­est shown in lo­cal his­tory, the nov­el­ist and vol­un­teer re­searcher, her­self a res­i­dent of Chal­font St Peter, pub­lished another timely book of lo­cal in­ter­est: The Chalfonts and Ger­rards Cross at War.

A se­ries of talks and slideshows to ac­com­pany the books also proved popular with com­mu­nity groups, li­braries and Women’s In­sti­tute groups around the county.

Ms Kelly’s lat­est book – The Fa­mous and In­fa­mous of the Chalfonts and Dis­trict – is an ex­panded ver­sion of her ear­lier book­lets, cov­er­ing a wider ge­o­graph­i­cal area of seven vil­lages and fea­tur­ing no fewer than 228 peo­ple who have achieved fame and dis­tinc­tion – or, in­deed, no­to­ri­ety.

In this il­lus­trated pa­per­back, dec­o­rated he­roes of land, sea and air bat­tles rub shoul­ders with a mul­ti­ple mur­derer, an atomic se­crets spy, a lead­ing Nazi of­fi­cial and a big-time swindler (who, in­ci­den­tally, was the fa­ther of one of Bri­tain’s best-loved thriller writ­ers).

From rad­i­cal re­li­gious dis­senters, tal­ented sports­peo­ple, Al­bert Hall sell-out mu­si­cians, and an early Bri­tish So­cial­ist who in­spired Karl Marx, to Bri­tain’s most no­to­ri­ous im­pris­oned Fas­cist politi­cian – the vil­lages of the Chalfonts, Ger­rards Cross, Den­ham, Ful­mer and Hedger­ley have seen them all.

Signed copies of the book are now on sale at Ger­rards Cross Book Shop and at Of­fice Di­rect in Chal­font St Peter, at £12.99 each.

Ms Kelly is one of 40 au­thors ap­pear­ing at the In­die Au­thor Fair at Chor­ley­wood Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val on Sun­day at the Bri­tish Le­gion Hall, be­tween 2pm and 5pm (see www.cwl­it­fest.org/fringe.html). She is also par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Rich­mond Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val, as guest speaker at The Tea Box, in Par­adise Road, on the evening of Novem­ber 20 (see www.rich­mondlit­er­a­ture.com).

The front cover of DJ Kelly’s lat­est book about a va­ri­ety of peo­ple with con­nec­tions to Bucks

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