A man who started his working life as a shop assistant and has just left a role working as the Prime Minister’s senior PA, has penned a book about his journey from teen to adult.
Chris Smith, 29, who attended Sharnbrook Upper School and grew up in Riseley, has written an autobiography of his life called The Lost Keys, which is due for release online next month.
The book covers various chapter in Chris’ life, from losing his sister, his experiences with drink and cannabis as a teenager, his dramatic change of career path. It takes a look at what he describes as his spiritual journey from being a depressed teen to a happy adult.
Chris worked as a diplomat in Iraq and communication officer in Basra, as well as other roles based in London, before he travelled the world with David Miliband and became senior PA to David Cameron from when he came into power to 2013.
Chris, who now lives in London, said: “Every chapter is based on a different experience I have been through in my life. From starting as a shop assistant to having a near-death experience in Iraq, and working for the Prime Minister.
“I did my A-levels at Sharnbrook and then left, not knowing what I wanted or where I wanted to go in life. I started working in the store that is now Primark in Bedford and worked my way up to assistant store manager.
“Then I just woke up one day and realised this wasn’t what I wanted to do, so I quit.”
Through fluke Chris saw a job come up in the Foreign Office, which he was successful in getting.
During his time Chris was stationed in Iraq for around eight months, where he survived being shot at in an aircraft he was travelling in.
And he was supposed to be booked on a helicopter that was shot down and killed everyone on board.
After several more jobs in the Foreign Office, Chris applied to work at Downing Street where he was PA to David Miliband and then went on to be senior PA to David Cameron.
He added: “Working with David Miliband was just amazing, I travelled the world with him, had some real once-in-a-lifetime experiences with him. He was such a nice down-to-earth, normal guy that you could have a laugh with.
“I remember one time we were in Egypt and we had a tour of the Pyramids. “Ministers always have the red ministerial box with them with very important classified papers.
“On this occasion we didn’t leave it with the driver because we didn’t know him, so there I was a 6ft guy crawling through tiny 3-ft areas lugging this big red box. We got to the top and David just laughed and said ‘you work too hard, have a day off!’
Chris began working as senior PA to the Prime Minister when Gordon Brown was still in power, and was there when David Cameron took over.
He said: “My first day was when they had called the General Election and there was about 200 paparazzi camped outside Downing Street as I walked in.
“It was really strange. One day Gordon Brown is going The Queen to resign and then you get up the next day and David Cameron is your boss.
“That night we got to sleep at about 3am and was up at 6am to report to David Cameron.
“David is a really nice guy. I didn’t quite have the same banter but that was because he was so busy.”
>>> You can buy The Lost Keys from online Waterstones and Amazon from November 11.
For more details go to www.thelostkeys.squarespace.com