Alan McCracken was born in Wigan, Lancashire, in 1938, and was brought up by his grandparents during the war years.
After five years’ apprenticeship at Leyland Motors and four years as a skilled armament fitter in the RAF, he worked as a door-to-door salesman of brushes and then encyclopaedias, and as a postman, before becoming a secondary school teacher for twenty-two years. Later in life, he also found time to establish a successful one-man gardening business.
Now widowed, he has four children, ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Much of his time now is spent slowly transforming a large area of wilderness into a garden, though he has also managed to write and publish a collection of poems about his adult life.
After living in Norwich, Glasgow, Lichfield and Leyland, he has been settled in Bolton for over forty years.