Mary Mackie, Writer & Speaker

  'Still Scribbling'

CHRIS'S PAGE

In memory of my dearly loved husband 1934-2014

For details of the book "CHRIS", click here

Chris Mackie in Sandringham Gardens

Chris Mackie's main off-duty interest after his retirement was the 'dig' at Sedgeford (near Hunstanton in West Norfolk). He was involved with the project, known as Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project (SHARP) since its inception in 1996. Though a few years ago he had to take a back seat because of health problems, he was delighted to see many old friends returning each year and he visited the site as often as he could to keep up to date with developments. Many of his SHARP friends attended his funeral in August 2014.

Visit the dig's main website at SHARP.org.uk
 (Left) Chris in Sandringham Gardens.

Norfolk is rich in archaeological material and West Norfolk is noted for gold coin hordes, many of which have been found along the Heacham River valley, and the magnificent torcs (neck ornaments from the Iron Age) which seem peculiar to this county. In Sedgeford, a field long-known as 'the Boneyard' has been the centre of investigations by a team of archaeologists assembled by archaeologist, author and lecturer Dr Neil Faulkner, but recently the search has widened to encompass the settlement site. with J D Hill at British Museum

Chris was an active member of the Princess Theatre Club in Hunstanton; he enjoyed broadcasting and appeared on radio many times and on TV quite a lot too, most notably the Richard and Judy show where, as friends remarked, he 'Mackied' the pair of them during an interview concerning the discovery of a gold torc terminal.

Picture (right) shows Chris behind the scenes at the British Museum with Dr J D Hill, on the day when Chris took the torc end in to join the rest of the torc which has been displayed in the museum for forty years.



"CHRIS" -- the book

This biography, titled simply CHRIS, is the moving, funny, heart-warming story of one particular man, who survived a bad beginning and made good.

Published on 11 April 2013. Finally. We were very proud to see the book in production at last, a splendid paperback printed by Witley Press of Hunstanton. I wrote the book, set the pictures and prepared the text for print, including the cover which is deliberately redolent of Norfolk's largest village, Heacham. Now that I have lost Chris, I am immensely glad that he lived to see a happy ending to his personal story.

I had been wanting to write his life story for a very long time. He had a wretched childhood -- until he came to Heacham -- but he did not let it hold him back or use it as an excuse. In 1944 Norfolk's largest village welcomed the ten-year-old peripatetic evacuee and ever since then it has been his spiritual home, if not his place of full-time residence. We came back to live here, in the lavender village, at the end of 1990.
    However, that didn't make for much of a story; it had no proper rounded ending until, in 2011, the 1911 Census came online. At last, we found the clue which led us to discover some fascinating details about the family he had never expected to find. For the full story, read the book.

Cover of biography CHRISThe blurb says: 

'Did my mother really try to kill me?’
That was the question he often asked himself.

Abandoned as a baby, Chris Mackie spent his early years against a background of World War II. His foster-mother was all he had. Losing her was the greatest tragedy of his young life. He sank into deep depression. But no one noticed. He was just a child. And there was a war on. Evacuated four times, he felt like a lost parcel. He might have used this unhappy beginning as an excuse for failure, but at the age of ten he decided that he, and he alone, had the power to shape his future.

In 1944 the unwanted boy came to Heacham, Norfolk, where at last he found some good friends. He spent twenty-three years in the  RAF. He ran a National Trust house, became an archaeologist, historian and local media personality. He had a long and happy marriage, raising two successful sons.

Even so, in the back of his mind the questions remained. Who were  his parents? Why had his mother left him? What became of her?

The search continued for nearly eighty years…


The book is available, to order, from all good bookshops, and is on sale locally in West Norfolk at Witley's Bookshop in Hunstanton, Poppyfields Garden Centre in Snettisham, and in Waterstone's, King's Lynn. It is also available, from us, by post, price £12.50 (inc. p&p).  See Contact page for address and other details.

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