Invincibles book launch boosts hospital appeal

Michael Barrett, author The Invincibles
Michael Barrett, author The Invincibles
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The start of Preston North End’s new season is being celebrated with a nod to the glories of the past.

Author and life-long PNE fan Michael Barratt is offering his book on The Invincibles, the city’s greatest ever team, to help out a local charity.

Michael’s book tells the story of the 1888/89 team, nicknamed the Invincibles, who didn’t lose a single match all season, and went on to win the FA Cup.

He hopes the inspiring story of the Victorian stars, whose record is still unequalled, will give a boost to another set of local heroes – Rosemere cancer charity.

He is giving 40 per cent of the price of each book to Rosemere in order to boost the charity’s 20th anniversary appeal.

The appeal, which is also backed by the Lancashire Post, aims to buy a state-of-the art robot ‘octopus’ to perform complex and delicate surgery.

Michael, 45, who works on the reception desk in the MRI unit at Royal Preston Hospital, teamed up with Roy of the Rovers artist David Sque to create the illustrated novel.

He spent hours in the Harris Museum Library going through old match reports from the 1888/89 season to ensure that each frame of the book was accurate, and even checked weather reports for each day so that David’s drawings would be faithful to the truth.

For Michael, who was captain of St Gregory’s RC Primary and then St Thomas More High School football teams, it was a labour of love.

He said: “I was born in Deepdale and live there now, so I have no choice but to follow PNE!

“I was a huge fan of Roy of the Rovers as a child, so the opportunity to work with David was amazing.”

Fans of the book, which has 152 full colour pages, include current North End player John Welsh and PNE star turned pundit Mark Lawrenson.

Dan Hill, Rosemere’s head of fund-raising, said: “It’s extremely generous of Michael to make us this offer of sales on his fantastic book. Anyone who likes football will enjoy it, whether or not they are PNE fans. Michael is a great guy who does a lot to support a number of local charities.”

Rosemere cancer charity launched its twentieth anniversary appeal earlier this year, aiming to raise £1.5m.

• If you buy the book from the Rosemere office, 40% of the proceeds will go to the charity. Contact them on 01772 522913 or email info@rosemere.org.uk