A member of Nelson and Colne College’s Science department has written a book on the roles her ancestors played in the First World War after visiting the fields of Flanders earlier this year.

Julia May, who works as a lab technician, has written Cycling Through a Foreign Field after switching pipettes for pedals and a pen for a bicycle holiday through some of Belgium’s First World War battlefields.

Her inspiration for writing the book was a clipping taken from the Burnley Express showing eight head and shoulder photographs of her ancestors, including six sons – one in a reserved occupation, one too young to fight, and the other four in uniform as serving soldiers in the Great War.

All profits from the sale of the book are going to the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes, charities particularly close to Julia’s heart.

Julia said: “In May, my partner and I set out to cycle the battlefields of Flanders and the Somme to retrace our forefathers’ footsteps and to find out a little of where they served, the conditions they endured and what had become of them during the First World War.

“The newspaper clipping that inspired the trip belongs to my mum who is frail and suffering with Alzheimer’s, and the youngest of the sons photographed is my grandfather. The clipping was taken from the Burnley Express which in 1916 was running a regular feature of Burnley families and the contributions they were making to the First World War.

“It was a very uplifting experience knowing I was visiting the place where they had served with bravery, courage and distinction, yet it was also poignant, and provided the time to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by my ancestors, and all involved in the Great War as we approach the 100th anniversary commemorations.”

As well as her day to day role at College, Julia has written 12 other books on the long distance walks or cycling holidays she has enjoyed.

Julia added: “All of my books are for sale in paperback and eBook format from Amazon. When I published the first one I wasn’t expecting many sales but I now sell an average of 45 a month and have lots of repeat readers from all over the world and get some good feedback – so I must be doing something right!

“They are not guide books but accurate, frank and light hearted accounts of the journey; the places I visit and the people I meet along the way.

“I try to make them as informative and entertaining as possible and although this latest book is obviously of a more serious tone than the others, there are still plenty of lighter moments in it.

“I think my hope for the book is to ensure that this chapter in history is not forgotten and that we continue to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of this country.”

Julia’s new book can be purchased here: https://tinyurl.com/ybk9ejzw

For more information about Nelson and Colne College visit www.nelson.ac.uk or contact the Admissions Team on 01282 440272.

More information about becoming a part of the Nelson and Colne College family can be found by visiting www.nelson-careers.co.uk