South Woodham Focus features Island Joggings, by Mike Benning

Benning's feature in SWF

Scan of Mike's feature in WFT

See the Caribbean through the eyes of a heavily perspiring Englishman and learn how to:

  • not play golf
  • feed the local stingray population
  • consume numerous varieties of local rum cake
  • and much more!

Mike Benning worked for the Essex Police for 31 years. He is also a natural story-teller. Whether the two are intertwined, I’ll leave up for debate.

Regardless, Mike’s recent appearance in South Woodham Focus magazine is the result of his promotional efforts in his region. Since publication in late February he’s mixed in appearances at Waterstone’s in Bury St. Edmunds, Chemlsford and Southend with signings at Book Inn at Leigh-on-Sea and WH Smith in Wickford. Not to mention appearing at the Essex Book Festival and, to date, some very positive reviews.

And now his latest appearance is here, in South Woodham Focus. Full transcript of the article is after the jump.

Retired Essex cop turns his hand to writing

Island Joggings is a travelogue diary of local man Michael Benning’s visit to Grand Cayman for a friend’s wedding, where she is a schoolteacher, and he encouters ‘hell’ and feeds to local stingray populations.

Having lived and initially taught in Bury St. Edmunds, Melanie Wright invites her parents, family and friends to the paradise island for her special occasion. Diversions encompass a little of the history and geography of the Cayman Islands while Michael’s distractions include some policing anecdotes and musings as varied as how to not play golf, the vagaries of air travel and an introduction into the numerous varieties of rum cake. Food is never far from the author’s thoughts, or lips, as his visits to many of the Grand Cayman’s excellent restaurants demonstrate.

Still living in Essex, the 63 year-old retired as a chief superintendent from Essex Police in 2000. Born in London, but living the majority of his life in Essex, he had various stints working in the building trade and local government before settling on a career in the police service. Having walked the beat in Wickford and also been stationed at Grays and Basildon he was involved in all the hijackings at Stansted Airport and concluded his 31 years with Essex Police by being awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.

He takes a light-hearted look at the many attractions of the Caribbean idyll through the eyes of his early morning jogging adventures, culminating with two twists in the tale.

“This is my first attempt at published writing and I hope people enjoy it,” he mused. “The book really started as just a few jottings on holiday and was never really intended to be a book. However, against by better judgement I was persuaded to transpose the original notes into book form which now allows everyone to read about my jogging around Grand Cayman in a sweat!”

Beach jogging required a degree of fitness of which Michael is in no short supply. He has completed 13 marathons and was part of a police relay team that ran non-stop from John O’Groats to Lands End in less than five days and all in the name of charity.

He added: “I want to be able to let others share in my enjoyment of the islands as well as my paossion for writing.”

Published by Melrose Books, Island Joggings is available in paperback at bookshops across the region.