A FORMER regional journalist who settled in Rossendale has had his first book published at the age of 67.

Maurice Jones, who has worked on a number of regional papers and also edited the Cyprus Mail, has had his humorous novel, Last Resort, published and earned rave reviews from former Home Secretary David Blunkett and EastEnders actress June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton.

The book has seen Maurice compared to satirical writer Tom Sharpe by Mr Blunkett who praised its ‘lashings of humour and great originality’.

Last Resort tackles Britain’s care-home elderly, a problem ‘solved’ by ‘exporting’ them to cut-price converted resorts in Thailand. The idea – stolen by a failed union demagogue – starts to unravel as sex-related deaths spark fears of a honeyed euthanasia plot.

Maurice said: “I’m told that it’s as rare as rocking horse droppings for a debut novelist to be taken on – especially at 67.

“I really hope that this encourages others. Older people have an enormous amount to offer, and if they want to go out with a bang, why not. There is nothing wrong in growing old a little disgracefully.”

Maurice, a hobby pilot, has spent the past 11 years living in Burnley Road East, Waterfoot, although he also regularly spends time in Finland with his Finnish wife Leena, and in Thailand.

Last Resort was named as one of the top dozen UK humour books currently on the market by website Squidoo last month.

Maurice said: “This has really stunned me, obviously I must be doing something right.”

Maurice was a sub-editor on the Sheffield Morning Telegraph in the 1970s, and also edited The Miner, the National Union of Mineworkers’ paper, during the year-long coal strike, and later was named the Newspaper Society Yorkshire Journalist of the Year. He edited the Cyprus Mail in the 1990s and later worked for newspapers in Bedfordshire on his return to Britain.