Stockport pensioner inspired by great aunt’s 100-year-old war diary to become author

A 100-year-old World War One diary has inspired a retired engineer to take up his hobby, writing, as a career.

Mark Drummond Rigg, 70, from Stockport, has recently penned and published his first novel, Diary of Annie’s War, about an English woman living in Germany during the Great War.

He was handed the diary over thirty years ago by his aunt, who was Annie Droege’s niece, and at first didn’t think anything of it.

He rediscovered the journal while looking for an historical newspaper cutting of the Munich air disaster.

He told MM: “It had been given to me by my aunt who was Annie’s niece, about thirty years ago. I hadn’t ever read it, just flicked through it.”

Mark was overheard talking about the diary in his local pub, the Three Tonnes, in Hazel Grove and managed to get the ball rolling off the back of a chat with his friend Charles Yates.

“One of my mates asked if he could have a look at it, so I said of course I will bring it in tomorrow night,” he said.

“Charles overheard me and said that it sounded interesting… and well that’s how it came to be published.”

The published book of Annie’s diary can be viewed in Stockport’s museum.

Since the release of Diary of Annie’s War Mark has released five of his own books which can be purchased on Kindle.

Mark started writing as a hobby 10 years ago when his sister came to him in need of help.

He said: “My sister is a school teacher down south and she wasn’t pleased with the books her school were providing for their pupils.

“I said to her that I would write her a story; I wrote her a chapter a week for six weeks and that is how it started – as simple as that.”

The children, eight year olds, loved the book, Sally and the Blue Wolf, and a couple of the classes wrote Mark thank you letters and even sent him paintings.

Sally and the Blue Wolf was Mark’s first published book, and included a song written by his 30-year-old son Danny.

The author’s next paperback release, The Little Flower Girl, will be hitting the shelves in a few weeks.

As Mark’s books are aimed at children there is a moral behind each story.

He said: “In Sally and the Blue Wolf – it is all about friendship, true friendship never dies, it lasts forever.

“The moral behind The Little Flower Girl is that if, you work towards your goals you are going to get it – you have to work for it.”

However, it is not only children’s books that Mark has written – Tales to Tickle the Imagination is a book of short stories for adults.

Before retiring Mark owned his own engineering company, which he enjoyed but he hadn’t ever thought about writing until later in life.

All of Mark’s books can be purchased on Kindle and you can find Diary of Annie’s War on Amazon.

To find out more about the author and his work, you can visit his website

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