A FORMER Bolton gravedigger — who was unable to read or write until a chance encounter with an English teacher — has published his fifth book of poetry.

Peter Street, of Nelson Street, Atherton, has published Thumbing from Lipik to Pakrac — New and Selected Poems through Waterloo Press.

Mr Street used to work as a gravedigger at Heaton, Tonge and Astley Bridge cemeteries from 1968 to 1970.

He suffers from dyscalculia and dyspraxia, and was unable to read or write until he was involved in a car accident in 1982 and broke his spine in four places.

Mr Street ended up in hospital next to an English literature teacher who taught him to write and encouraged him to record his life history in poetry.

He said: “This book is really my life experiences, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it 30 years ago because I wasn’t very good at reading.”

The book costs £8 and is available from Sweetens bookshop in Deansgate.