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Bury St Edmunds librarian shares memories of living and working abroad in his latest book - Book and Passport





A former town librarian has shared memories of living and working abroad in his latest book.

Vincent McDonald, 74, tells of living for four months with his wife and sons in the United States in 1992, and then a year in Ghana in 2011.

Entitled, Book and Passport, the stories reflect his love of travel and books.

Vincent McDonald with his latest book, Book and Passport. Picture: Submitted
Vincent McDonald with his latest book, Book and Passport. Picture: Submitted

Vincent was the area librarian for West Suffolk, based in the Bury Central Library, for 13 years, later working at county council headquarters in Ipswich.

During this time, he moved to America with his late wife Kim, and sons Joseph, then 11, and Tom, seven, to live for four months in Port Townsend, Washington State, after a job-swap with another librarian.

Vincent, who lives in Bury, said: “This turned out to be a wonderful, life-changing experience in a stunningly beautiful part of the world, with mountains and island-strewn waterways, just across the straits from Canada and the bohemian city of Seattle.

Vincent McDonald and family in America. Picture Vincent McDonald
Vincent McDonald and family in America. Picture Vincent McDonald

“Our swap partner, Carol, meanwhile fell in love with Bury and West Suffolk. She liked going to different shops for bread, vegetables and fish, where at home in Port Townsend most of her shopping was done in Safeway.

“She told me she found the area very beautiful and it was wonderful to see the abbey ruins, medieval churches, centuries old timbered houses and the loveliest gardens she’d ever seen.”

Vincent was made redundant from the library service in 2006. He had been widowed two years earlier, a subject he wrote about in his first book, Honey from Dorabjees, published in 2014.

Book and Passport also tells of his childhood, falling in love and getting married.

Book and Passport by Vincent McDonald
Book and Passport by Vincent McDonald

In 2008, with his sons grown up, he then spent two years with the voluntary service overseas in India, and a year in Ghana between 2011 and 2012.

He said: “I worked in a country town in Ghana with a similar sized population to Bury, called Asamankese.

“I was based in the local council office, delivering worthy causes such as a ward for the local children’s hospital, and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

“I have very fond memories of the people, which I share.”

Book and Passport is available in paperback on Amazon priced £8.99 and £2.49 on Kindle.