A LOCAL author has published his latest towpath tale.

Bill Bradley, born in Ellesmere Port and now living in Eccleston near Chester, is best known as Bargee Bill, from his years spent as steering restaurant boats up and down canals.

His latest book, part of his series titled Ebb and Flows towpath Tales, is called the Tree of Knowledge, about a peacock called Geordie, who with his friends had fun on the side of the canal.

Bill was born in Ellesmere Port more than 80 years ago. He joined the Irish Guards when old enough, where he posted to Hampshire.

This is where he met Jean, a local girl; Jean became his wife more than 60 years ago.

They have four children and are blessed with grandchildren and now one great grandson.

When Bill left the Army, he brought Jean back to Cheshire.

Bill then spent 25 years as a boatman, steering restaurant boats up and down the Bridgewater, Trent and Mersey Canals.

However much of that time was spent on the Shropshire Union Canal. This is how Bill was given the nick name Bargee Bill; he became a well known character.

He and Jean spent 17 years living in Lock Keepers Cottage on The Shropshire Union Canal.

Apart from looking after family, a great deal of their time was spent looking after lame ducks, injured swans and battery hens, donkeys a Shetland pony and a peacock.

When Bill was driving the barge he would steer the boat past Lock Keepers Cottage, hence Jean was able to keep Bill updated should there be a problem with the animals.

The Bradleys moved to a cottage in Eccleston seven years ago and when Bill retired he decided to write about the events at Lock Keepers Cottage and his life.

Bill's first book was his autobiography. The other two are children’s stories; and are based on actual events at Lock Keepers Cottage, however the characters are fictional.

He has now written three books and hopes to have another two in print for Christmas. These were written in lockdown.

Bill has regaled his stories to many children, doing readings at Chester Library, Ellesmere Port Boat Museum and local schools.

Sadly Bill cannot do this at the moment because of the pandemic.