A kind-hearted grandad has spent his time in lockdown penning a new book all about the city of York. Malcolm Walker was a former shift worker and over his 40-year career, took courses on guiding people around the city during his time off in the day. He’s now finally amalgamated his profound knowledge into a book, donating proceeds from the sale of Saints and Sinners of the City of York to the Down’s Syndrome Association.
“Before retirement, I was a litho printer on shift work. The shifts were pretty anti-social so I took courses on guiding around the City and also in the Minster. These were interests I could pursue when I was off shift, during the day.
Over the years one amasses an enormous amount of information, not only the famous landmarks, the Minster and the City Walls say, but also related to events and fascinating characters, both good and bad, with connections with the City.”
Malcolm has been a member of the Association of Voluntary Guides to the city of York and a guide in the Minster for almost 40 years now. He is York born and bred. “When people ask me if I’ve lived in York all my life, I answer ‘Not Yet’”.
He’s been married to his wife Edna (known as Ed) for 59 years and had two children, Paul and Lindsey. He’s grandad to nine grandchildren including Sam, who is 22 and has Down’s syndrome.
“Nobody in the family had any experience of Down’s syndrome so we were worried at the time but in the event, he was a beautiful happy baby. Sam has faced challenges in his life, but despite all of them, he has been and remains a happy, contented and thoughtful lad.”
A few weeks into the first lockdown, Malcolm found himself “all gardened out” until his wife jokingly said: “Well, stop moaning and write a book or paint a picture.” Malcolm decided to do both, and now has a fabulous picture of all nine grandchildren and has recently published his book. He’s taken some of the best and juiciest parts of York’s history and following a route around the city, takes the reader to different sites and explains parts of their history that have influenced both York and the rest of the world.
“If Saints and Sinners of the City of York does make a bob or two, I would rather it went to a worthy cause and I can’t think of a better one than the Down’s Syndrome Association. I think you’ll enjoy the book; not because it’s a literary masterpiece, but because the people in it have universal appeal. It’s not just for locals. York was a capital city under the Romans, the Saxons and the Vikings (as Jorvik). The city was burned and pillaged for daring to oppose William the Conqueror but out from the ashes it arose, phoenix like, as England’s second city. The book might even inspire you to visit!”
And of course grandson Sam is very proud, commenting: “It’s exciting and good, best I could get!”
Andrea Bishop from the Down’s Syndrome Association said: “We are really grateful to Malcolm for donating all proceeds from the book to our charity. We hope people buying it will come away with new knowledge, but will also know their purchase will go towards our important work, in ensuring people who have Down’s syndrome live full and rewarding lives.”
Saints and Sinners of the City of York can be purchased via this website link.