Life Stories

Cover of Life StoriesMy short book Life Stories gives five biographical accounts of the inspirational human stories behind the memorials at the National Memorial Arboretum, near Lichfield in Staffordshire.

I first visited the NMA in 2007 to interview its chief executive for a magazine article and it made a lasting impression on me.

I was captivated by the memorials and what they stood for, and was keen to know much more about the people they commemorate.

Life Stories grew out of this desire to know more about the human side of the NMA, and the first five remarkable personal accounts in this project were published in an illustrated volume in August 2010.

The stories featured are:

  • Elaine Betts, whose life-changing lung transplant enabled her to experience the joy of breathing for the first time
  • Janet Booth, who fought a 14-year legal battle to clear the name of her grandfather, who was shot for alleged cowardice in World War One
  • Carl Grundy, who lost his twin brother, fellow soldier Andrew, in the Troubles in Northern Ireland and is a tireless fundraiser for the NMA
  • Jenny Green, who lost her RAF husband Bill shortly before the first Gulf War and has used her experience of personal tragedy to help hundreds of families cope after losing their loved ones
  • Koren War veteran Frank Shorter, who now gives his time and energy as a volunteer at the NMA

Life Stories is priced at £3.99 and available from the National Memorial Arboretum’s gift shop, by email at or by phoning 01283 792333. It’s also available on Amazon.

“There are stories to tell behind every plot and monument, each of which tells a tale of heroism, of sadness, of a particular event or campaign or just a selfless devotion to duty. Hannah Hiles has written up five masterful accounts, each of which is uniquely thought-provoking.”  NMA chief executive Charlie Bagot Jewitt

Some coverage of Life Stories

Central Tonight – Voices of Heroes

Tamworth Herald – Hannah’s book is memorial to five remarkable heroes

Hold the Front Page – Ex-journalist’s book tells memorial’s human tales

The Sentinel – Author recalls dead heroes

Derby Telegraph – Arboretum book is story of the fallen

Legion magazine – In Living Memory

3 thoughts on “Life Stories

  1. Pingback: In Living Memory (Legion magazine) | Hannah Hiles

  2. Pingback: Feature on the National Memorial Arboretum (Staffordshire County Magazine) | Hannah Hiles

  3. Pingback: Top five posts of 2014 | Hannah Hiles

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