1958 I was born on the 23rd of October 1958 and this photograph shows me in the arms of my late father Eric at the farm in Earls Barton. My family has farming on my father’s side (Ward) and shoemaking on my Mother’s (Barker) and I would eventually choose to go into shoemaking, much like my father. He stopped farming in 1971, keeping around eighteen acres of grazing land below the farm and went to work at Barkers Shoes as Sales Director.
EARLY LIFE My Grandfather Albert Barker, was a huge influence on my life and you can see me here driving my little pedal car around his garden in Earls Barton. Grandpa would take me shooting at Bisley Camp in Surrey and I would always love the drive down in one of his Aston Martin cars. Grandpa was a wonderful shoemaker and shot for England.
DOGS I have always loved dogs and this is a photograph of a painting that my Grandfather Albert made of me, while sitting in the garden of the Cottage in Earls Barton, with his favourite dog Clicker. Clicking is the process of cutting out the leather sections of the shoe to make the ‘upper’ This spaniel had been given to Grandpa by the Clickers at Barkers as a present.
SIBLINGS I have a younger brother George and sister Sarah. This is an early picture of the three of us on holiday in Frinton-on-Sea, a charming English seaside resort, that probably hasn’t changed much to this day. Instead of holidaying on the windy east coast, my wife was spending her childhood in trendy French and Spanish resorts during the 1960’s! She continues to remind me of this to this day.
The 1970’s Not known for a decade of fashion, as shown by this photograph of brother George (left) and me (right), the 1970’s we hugely important to me. I left school in 1976, joining the family shoemaking business - Barker Shoes and would spend much of my time with friends at Mears Ashby Youth Club Discos.
CARS & Motorcycles My motorcycle was a Yamaha FS1E and the first car was a Mini, followed by an MG Midget, MGB, Lotus Elan, Fiat X19 and then various other more ‘sensible’ cars. I am still passionate about classic cars and motorcycles to this day and regularly attend local classic car meets, such as the Earls Barton Classic Car Meet and the simply stunning Goodwood Revival each year.
SALCOMBE My parents first took us to Salcombe in the 1970’s and we have been returning ever since. If you have never visited Salcombe, you should really try and make a visit to discover why many of us consider it to be the finest seaside town in England. With its beautiful sandy beaches, a vibrant sailing community and trendy shops, Salcombe has something for everyone and we love it so much, we have made it our home. Salcombe was also the place where we first penned The Salties, later to become Pip Ahoy!
PHOTOGRAPHY I have always been a keen photographer and back in 1985, I decided to start up my own commercial business: Charles Ward Photography. Some thirty five years later, I am still taking pictures from my studio at London End Farm and still enjoy every day. When I am not working at CWP, I always carry a small camera with me to record my running and classic car shows and you can some of my pictures on this website. I also run training workshops, so do get in touch if you would like to learn about your camera.
JAMES - my eldest son was born in 1989 and now lives with his wife Lucinda and son Archie in Edinburgh. James runs his own film production company - James Ward Films and now travels the world making corporate and documentary films.
The photograph on the left shows my late father Eric with James (aged around 2 years) having visited the hens on the farm. James loved playing with the ‘chucks’ and can be seen laughing in my father’s arms. I treasure this picture and is one of my favourites.
FREDDIE is my second son and lives in London with his girlfriend Ellie. Freddie is a keen shot, both clay and game and can often be found enjoying his series three Landrover called Margo and Pilchard the RIB around Salcombe. Freddie is also a big Stones fan, having attended his first Stones gig at the age of eight and has joined me at most of their UK concerts since.
THE SALTIES / PIP The Salties started out as bedtime stories for my boys over twenty years ago and we finally aired on TV in 2014, after a great deal of time, effort and cost! The story of The Salties / Pip Ahoy! can be read in full on this page and I have now completed over eighteen volumes of diaries, that record the journey that I have been on.
If you are considering writing your own children’s book, or have an idea for an animation of some kind, do get in touch. I would be happy to relay some of my own experiences and provide you with some advice.
THE ROLLING STONES I attended my first Stones concert at the old Wembley Stadium on June the 25th 1982 to see their Still Life tour and I have been following them ever since. Check out my Rolling Stones page on this website and do let me know if you are a fellow fan.
People ask me what is my favourite track and that’s a tricky one: Monkey Man, Gimme Shelter and Can’t You Hear Me Knocking are right up there, but I also love their ballads, especially Winter, Waiting On A Friend and Beast Of Burden. OK, it’s Gimme Shelter with Lisa Fischer…. still brings a shiver down my spine whenever I hear it played.