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Profile - Jeff Kent - Scaling the foothills of Staffordshire

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

By Sarah Marshall

Jeff Kent

Jeff Kent

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WHERE WERE YOU BORN? North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary, Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent.

YOUR MAIN CHILDHOOD MEMORIES: I remember wanting to be out in the countryside with my parents instead of being at school.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? I was a Kia-Ora orange squash packer in the school summer holiday in 1967, when I was 16, at F. Swinnerton & Son Limited, in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, where my mother (Helen Kent) was the manageress.

WHAT SPARKED YOUR LOVE OF WALKING AND THE COUNTRYSIDE? My parents, who took me out into the countryside on buses and trains as we didn't have a car, from when I was a young boy in the 1950s. When I was 11 as a pupil at Hanley High School I joined my school hiking club and then went on wilder walks in the Peak District, which is how I started getting to know the area.

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WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO FIRST START WRITING? Learning to write as a child. For some reason unknown to me, I liked doing it and I've carried on since. I've always felt I've got something to say, which might be regarded as arrogance, but I like getting my teeth into new projects and particularly researching them, treading where no-one has been before.

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR LATEST BOOK? It originated with ideas for a book of circular walks in Staffordshire and later for one on the county's special places, but I then felt the market for the former had been worked out and there were problems with what constituted such places for the latter. Then I became interested in the Munros, Scotland's 3,000-foot-plus mountains, and the Nuttalls, the 2,000-foot peaks of England and Wales etc, which led me onto the idea of identifying and climbing all Staffordshire's 1,000-foot hills. The book, called Staffordshire's 1,000-Foot Peaks, followed.

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO WALK? Sutherland (in northwest Scotland), Iceland and Arizona.

WHAT IS YOUR AMBITION? To live a healthy long life and complete the many more projects which I have in mind.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU? Next year I plan to go out and play my own songs live again, to tidy up my various poems and publish them, to complete and release a DVD of my father Cyril Kent's historical cine films and more, in the unlikely event that there's time for such.

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