SEVEN years before the Great War, a little boy stayed overnight with his family on an uncle’s Shropshire farm.
They were on their way to Liverpool to board a ship to Canada to start a brand new life.
He awoke the next morning, full of excitement and anticipation. But he awoke to an empty house – empty, except for his new guardians.
His mother, father and siblings had packed up and gone. He’d been left behind, in what turned out to be a heartbreaking betrayal.
The 10-year-old was Geoffrey, grandfather of TV personality Richard Madeley who writes about the harrowing experience in his book, Fathers & Sons.
And chat show host Richard dropped into Ellesmere Port to sign copies of the book and meet his fans at Borders, on The Coliseum, on Thursday afternoon.
When Richard was born, a child of the 1960s, did the psychological scars of the past make their mark on the present? What kind of father did Richard himself become?
Madeley has trawled through the passed-down family accounts to construct his own family history and understand his role as a father to both his twin step sons Dan and Tom, and his son with Judy Finnigan.
Richard and Judy began their new UKTV primetime show earlier this month.
Fathers & Sons is available now, published by Simon and Schuster, priced £18.99.