Local man’s tales from Eastern Europe

ON September 17 John Shackleton from Harrogate delivered a fire engine to Albania on behalf of his charitable organisation Aid to Eastern Europe.

Rather than resting after his adventure the 74-year-old is preparing a number of talks about his various trips.

John travelled to Corrovoda, high in the mountains of Albania, with his neighbour John Rowe and policewoman Alison Gill from Ripon.

He said: “We don’t often take women on our trips, but Alison has been on five now and she’s great.”

Unfortunatly his earlier trip in August was not such a success as John and his co-drivers, Bernard and Catherine Antram, failed to make is past Dover before the minibus filled with medical supplies they planned to deliver to the Republic of Transnistri broke down.

John said: “It took some persuasion to get Bernard and Catherine to agree to the trip and getting permission to enter the country can be difficult. I hope to try again in the spring of next year.”

Persuasion seems to be a particular talent of John’s and amongst the various souvenirs he takes to his talks is a Mafiosa badge he managed to acquire whilst in Italy and on a recent trip to Goathland he coerced the owner of a B&B to sign up for one of his trips.

The father of five, grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of one, or as he prefers ‘grandad the great’ has been on over 40 charity trips since 1990.

He said: “I feel I am in a great position to give a little back seeing as I have been so lucky in my own life.”

Alongside the support he recieves from his long suffering wife Maureen, John recieves great support from the local community, especially from St Roberts church, Dick Mathews from Oatland Tyres and Michael Webster from Sing-A-Rama.

John is speaking at Ascot House on October 9, Harrogate Library on October, 18 and St Roberts Church, 23 October and has eight more lined up for next year.