A 79-year-old man with incurable lung cancer has vowed not to let his illness define him and has written his 16th book on his safari adventures in East Africa.

Sutton born Graham Mercer, has spent half of his life in East Africa after growing up in the borough, publishing several books on his adventures in Kilimanjaro, Tanzanian national parks and Zanzibar to name a few.

Graham, who attended Allanson Street Junior School and Cowley Boys Grammar School, worked as a scullery boy and later commis chef at the Fleece Hotel, St Helens, before becoming a counter clerk at the old St Helens Head Post Office.

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In 1961 he joined the Royal Navy for nine years before becoming an elementary school teacher teaching in Longton Lane Juniors in Rainhill for three years and then moved to a large international school in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he taught for the next 34 years.

During his time in Tanzania, Graham, who had first experienced life on safari in 1962, embraced his love of the African bush with a lasting passion, often camping in tiny tents amid the big game animals that had fascinated him since childhood.

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Since leaving Africa in 2012 he has lived in Collins Green, Burtonwood with his Karachi-born wife Anjum, to whom his book is dedicated.

He said: "My latest book, Into the Eyes of Lions, is about his adventures in the bush, involving numerous incidents with lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and other creatures as well as with tribes-people such as the Maasai, the Datoga and the hunter-gathering Hadzabe.

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"I was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer in 2016 but I refuse to be defined by cancer.

"I attend the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and the Lilac Centre at St Helens Hospital, to both of which I am immensely grateful.

On his book writing he added the quote: "Mario de Andrade (San Paulo, 1893 - 1945) 'We have two lives, And the second begins when you realise that we only have one.'"

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His book is available from Troubador Publishing (troubador.co.uk/bookshop), certain Waterstone outlets, and from Graham himself (gmercer84pennylane@gmail.com) is available to buy for just £10.95 plus postage.