THE book is ‘Buchanan – Coleford’s Famous Son’, by Clive Hooper. The famous son is Angus Buchanan, who is pictured on the front cover in his first world war uniform, and on the back cover there is a picture of his memorial stone, with a plaque welcoming visitors to the Angus Buchanan VC recreation ground in Coleford.

Clive, my old friend and colleague from my St Briavels and West Dean Parish Council days, is a historian, player and administrator of many sports, company director, chemist, charity trustee, local government officer, and Trustee, Secretary and Treasurer of the snappily titled ‘Angus Buchanan VC Recreation Ground Charitable Incorporated Organisation’. In this role, he has written and published this memorial to the famous local soldier and solicitor Angus Buchanan.

Clive’s book gives you more than just the story of Buchanan’s life. Through some inspired research he has traced this Buchanan line back to the remote Scottish Highlands, when Angus’ great (x3) grandfather was killed in battle in the doomed Stewart uprising at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

The Buchanans prospered after this disaster, farming in the remote rural Highlands of Scotland through the generations, until Angus’ father, Peter, having qualified as a medical practitioner at Glasgow University, turns up in Coleford in the 1881 census as the local Medical Officer for Health. There is an interesting record about his marriage to Hannah Williams, a woman who was already married, an irregularity which was swiftly legitimised by the divorce granted to his wife’s husband.

He then became a successful businessman, a pillar of the local community, involved in setting up the Forest of Dean Golf Club and Deputy Coroner for the area as well as his medical duties.

His son Angus was a scholar and sportsman, the Buchanan whose name is now famous in Coleford. He served in 1st World War, suffering catastrophic injuries saving a fallen colleague, and on recovery returned to active duties, where he received the injury that blinded him. But back in civilian life, he led an active life, qualifying as a solicitor and becoming an important member of the Coleford community. But he never fully recovered from his injuries and died from them in 1944.

His legacy was the ABVCRG, the Angus Buchanan VC Recreation Ground, which has provided recreational facilities for the Coleford area for 100 years. Clive has meticulously recorded the history and the management governance of the ground over the last century. He has forensically analysed the development of the area, its importance as an amenity to the town, the many Coleford and Forest organisations that have benefited from it, and the difficulties that it has faced and overcome.

This was not easy, as records of documentation by the Committees running the Trust are either missing or unreliable, so Clive has had to reconstruct some Recreation Ground history events from local newspaper reports rather than unavailable Trust sources in minutes and reports. This demonstrates the importance of local newspapers, providing historical records as well as news.

The Ground has an exciting future, with sporting groups, woodland gardens, gate reconstructions, a community orchard and a restored club house.

The present facilities include areas for bowls, pétanque and walking football for over 50s footballers: there is a plan for a woodland garden for local people and particularly children, a community orchard, and a plan to restore the gates, and to reinstate pavilion as club house.

Congratulations to Clive for the enormous amount of research necessary for this ambitious project. ‘Buchanan – Coleford’s Famous Son’, is on sale at Forest Books & Crafts, 15 Market Place, Coleford.