LIVING in abject poverty has made Ken Adams the man he is today.

Born in Taunton at the end of the Second World War, he had to sleep on the floor after his father sold all their furniture.

He was forced to wear two left shoes his mother bought him at a jumble sale.

He started school at three as his mum, who had by then separated from her husband, needed to work and couldn't afford a babysitter.

Ken, 79, of Leslie Avenue, has charted those tough times in his book, Two Left Shoes, which is published next month.

He said: "My book grew into a story of how I became aware at quite an early age of the plight of being poor and the resulting ways in which I have tried to help others.

"The main purpose of this book is an autobiography which attempts to be a philanthropy by way of showing how everything has changed through the eyes of an under-privileged child, from the time of an oppressive Adolf Hitler to the present in which we are seeing the rise of ever more despotic and dictatorial people.

"I try to show how I began to think about the plight of the poor and others rather than just myself and the way this influenced the way I wanted to go with my career and indeed my life."

Ken was inspired to write by his late friend Minehead-born and Taunton-educated sci-fi writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who he often visited in Sri Lanka.

READ MORE: Tributes following the death of Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

There are stories of Ken's working life at the former SWEB depot in Priorswood Road and subsequent jobs with British Telecom, the UK Hydrographic Office and Taunton Deane Borough Council.

And there is the time he eloped to Torquay with a girlfriend, only to return home to Taunton alone and being ordered by his mother to find a job.

Or the occasion he dug up a cartridge at Oare Church, where the eponymous Lorna Doone was almost fatally shot by Carver Doone on her day in R. D. Blackmore's novel.

Reflecting on a changing world, Ken said: "I believe that during my lifetime, I have seen a rapid growth of selfishness and indulgence in a world which is now consumed by sheer greed and which, until comparatively recently, has been almost devoid of concern for future generations.

"It is my sincere hope that my book will persuade people to think differently and to discover for themselves that there is far greater reward in giving than in receiving."

Two Left Shoes by Kenneth Roger Adams is published by Austin MaCauley February 2 (ISBN 978-1-0358501-4-3).

It can be pre-ordered on Amazon or at Brendon Books or Waterstones.