Ex-pat in Thailand to donate book money to needy families in Hartlepool

GENEROUS: Author Frank Skilbeck with sister Linda Howlett and a copy of his new novel
GENEROUS: Author Frank Skilbeck with sister Linda Howlett and a copy of his new novel

A HARTLEPOOL ex-pat who has written his first novel has pledged to give all proceeds from his work to needy families in his hometown.

Town-born Frank Skilbeck left Hartlepool when he was 17 and has been based abroad for over 30 years, moving from the United Arab Emirates to Hong Kong, Vietnam and then Thailand where he has lived for the last 20 years.

Frank, who in now in his 70s and worked in journalism before going into the aviation sector, has penned a novel called Da Nang Bound - A Legacy Of War.

The book is is set in the late 1980s and encompasses much of life in post-war communist Vietnam as it struggled to come to terms with the challenges posed by the embargo imposed by the United States when the Soviet Bloc began to break up. Frank’s sister Linda Howlett visited him and his Thai wife Jazz at their home in Thailand over Christmas, and was delighted to hear that he was planning to give any profits from the book to Hartlepool Families First where Linda works.

Linda, who lives with husband Kenneth in the Fens area of Hartlepool, said: “My brother has lived and worked in Asia for more than 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge.

“These trips sowed the seeds for writing a book but it wasn’t until 2008 that Frank put pen to paper to write things down.”

Paul Thompson, manager at Hartlepool Families First, said: “This is generous gesture on Frank’s part for which we are most grateful.

“Anything that can be done to ease the plight of families in Hartlepool is always welcome and I am sure Frank has similar feelings.

“We all wish him much success with his book.”

Da Nang Bound – A Legacy of War is partly based on true events and the main characters are modelled around Frank’s former friends some of whom, sadly, did not survive to see the book published.

The novel is available on Amazon in book form and as an e-book on Kindle.