CHRIS FOOTE WOOD was born in Prestbury, Cheshire in December 1940, the first of four children of Helen (Nellie) and Stanley Wood from Manchester. The Woods settled in Bury, Lancashire. Chris's youngest sister, the multi-talented comedienne, writer, actor and producer Victoria Wood has won numerous awards and has been voted the UK's funniest woman. Their late father Stanley was a successful author and playwright and also an accomplished musician. Chris was a scholarship boy at Bury Grammar School in Lancashire. In 1959 he won an open scholarship to Manchester University, but instead took a BSc honours degree course in civil engineering at King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne, then part of Durham University. Chris completed the four-year honours course but was not awarded a degree. After various civil engineering jobs, including a spell as bridge engineer on the A1(M) Durham motorway construction, in 1968 Chris set up his own publishing business, Durham Free Press, pioneering commercial free press newspapers in the UK. He gave up the venture in 1971 and had one further civil engineering job on the A19 Teesside construction for four years, before returning to journalism in 1974 as a freelance writer and broadcaster. Chris set up his regional press agency, North Press News & Sport, and ran it for thirty years. He sold NPNS in 2004 and is now a full-time freelance writer, researcher, editor and publisher with his third company Northern Writers. In his work as a news and sports reporter, Chris has made hundreds of broadcasts on local and national radio. Chris also gives talks and lectures, and a public lecture he gave in Newcastle in 2013 attracted an audience of 500. From the age of ten, Chris has been a keen participant in amateur dramatics and pantomime. As an adult, he appeared in many productions for the Bishop Auckland Little Theatre company, and in other shows. At the age of 72 Chris made his professional stage debut with his one-man show “An Evening with Charles Dickens”. He has performed it in various parts of the UK, and has a week booked at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Chris wrote his first weekly newspaper column at the age of sixteen, reporting athletics for the Bury Times. He wrote for his college newspaper "Courier". He edited and promoted the student arts magazine "Northerner", making it profitable for the first (and perhaps the only) time. As well as publishing and editing his own group of six local newspapers in the north east, Chris has written, edited and/or published some 18 books. "Nellie's Book", published by Sutton Publishing in February 2006, was his first venture onto the national scene. He now specialises in biography and is an accomplished "ghost writer." As a boy, Chris suffered TB on the lungs which prevented any sporting activity for three years, up to the age of sixteen. He then took up athletics and cross-country running, winning his school's top sportsman award and representing Northern Schools in the mile. He also competed for the school chess team. Chris won many form prizes and was awarded the school's senior mathematics prize. After a 20-year absence from athletics, at the age of forty Chris took up marathon running. Up to the age of 70 he was still competing in veteran athletics, cycling, and the triathlon. Wear and tear on the knees means Chris can no longer run, so he has taken up long-distance walking instead. Chris Wood married Frances Foote (later OBE, BA) in 1977, adding her surname to his by deed poll. Frances died of cancer in 2013 to end their 36-year marriage. They had no children, but Chris had three from his first marriage: a son, who died in 2011, and two daughters, with two grandchildren.
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