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Born in Sheffield, Ernest Barrett was the eldest of seven children. He was called up for National Service in 1948 and after signing on, spent six and a half years in the R.A.F.
After leaving the forces he took a job at the steel works in Rotherham. He later moved to Lincolnshire after suffering a life changing accident at the steel works in 1968. After struggling to cope with his injuries he eventually got a job with the Skegness council, where he stayed until his retirement in 1995.
After an Open University course he took up writing poetry and short stories. Although he didn't complete the course (much to his regret) it was a great help. This was followed by him joining the Skegness Writers.