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Two Downham Market men who are former Kent teachers honoured in crime author Neil Lancaster's latest book Blood Runs Cold

Two Downham men have been honoured in a best-selling crime author’s book.

Martin Chilvers and David Yabbacome, who were Neil Lancaster’s first two English teachers at a Kent secondary school in 1977, are thanked for making him “believe that one day it could happen” in the dedication to Blood Runs Cold, which is published in April.

The teachers were at the time both embarking on their teaching careers at The Wildernesse School for Boys in Sevenoaks (now Knole Academy).

Martin Chilvers with the book by Neil Lancaster
Martin Chilvers with the book by Neil Lancaster

In a golden age for the school, Neil was in the same year group as Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton du Beke, just behind actor Jerome Flynn and ahead of England footballer John Salako and performance poet Murray Lachlan Young.

Neil went on to join the army and later the Metropolitan Police Service, where he was involved in covert operations.

Since retiring, Neil has put his knowledge to good use in writing a number of novels, which have won him praise from fellow novelists and critics with Ian Rankin saying Neil’s books “grabbed me from the first page”.

In the dedication, Neil says: “Dedicated with thanks to two wonderful teachers who inspired me to believe that one day I’d be able to write a book. With that in mind I’m saying a belated, but heartfelt thank you to Martin Chilvers and David Yabbacome. You both made a young man believe that one day it could happen.”

His two teachers have remained in close contact over the intervening years.

Martin moved to West Norfolk in 1994 and to Downham in 2003. David retired to Downham some seven years ago.

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