Foreshore inspector shares memories of Littlehampton beach

Former Littlehampton foreshore inspector John Madell has written a book about his memories. Photo by Derek Martin.
Former Littlehampton foreshore inspector John Madell has written a book about his memories. Photo by Derek Martin.

There’s never a dull moment in the life of a Littlehampton foreshore inspector – or at least not for John Madell.

From run-ins with ‘deaf dogs’ to couples engaging in less-than-savoury behaviour, the 69-year-old from Middleton-on-Sea has documented his colourful five-year career in his first book.

Former Littlehampton foreshore inspector John Madell has written a book about his memories. Photo by Derek Martin.

Former Littlehampton foreshore inspector John Madell has written a book about his memories. Photo by Derek Martin.

He said: “It was great fun, and a real breath of fresh air for me, having worked in the building industry all my life. I greatly enjoyed it.”

John traded a career in roofing for patrolling Littlehampton beach in 2007 after seeing an advert in the paper. In his time, he made sure the beach kept its Blue Flag status and educated visitors to the area.

One memorable incident which inspired the title of the book, No Dogs on the Beach, was when he chased after a woman and her dog on the beach after they ignored the warning to discover the lady was deaf, and her companion was in fact a guide dog.

At the end of the book, John recalls coming across a couple who were getting a bit too intimate on the beach, and his humorous attempts to get them to leave.

A big fan of autobiographies, John Madell began writing down his memoirs on quiet afternoons by the beach, with the intention of them being passed down to his ancestors ‘for eternity’, according to the book’s preface.

But what he is still getting used to is the thought of strangers reading his story. He said: “It is quite odd actually to think that people I do not know are reading about my life. Warts and all, it is in there.”

One of the aforementioned warts was being transported as a baby in a sideboard drawer from London to his adoptive parents in West Sussex and meeting his birth mother, Jenny O’Brien in his late twenties.

The book also covers his youth, which he spent in bands which supported legendary performers such as Eric Clapton and The Eagles.

John recalls performing in front of The Beatles at a club in London while in a band called Big Bertha in the early Sixties.

John still loves performing, and is part of a band called The Rocking Ferrets. Of his chance at fame, he said: “We played very well, but no way were we better. They had better equipment anyway!”

The book is stocked in Littlehampton, Bognor Regis Arundel and Pulborough, visit johnmadell.co.uk for a full list of stockists.