A budding author cared for by Nottinghamshire Hospice has just published her debut novel despite being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Beverley Fairbanks learnt last April that she had the condition, which has affected her mobility and speech, but she was determined to see her children’s novel, The Mystery of the Old Orphanage, in print. Proceeds of the book, aimed at children aged 8-12, are being donated to Nottinghamshire Hospice and MND research to help others with the same condition.
Beverley said: “I’m thrilled and proud to see The Mystery of the Old Orphanage in print and delighted that I am able to raise funds to help the hospice through book sales.”
Beverley worked as a teacher for 34 years, and would often use her vivid imagination to create stories for children at the primary schools where she taught, as well as for her own son when he was little. When she retired from teaching in 2017 she put pen to paper and wrote the book.
She first noticed symptoms like slurring of speech and excessive fluid in her mouth, along with weakness in her left arm and leg. On diagnosis, she was told she had between six months to two years to live, which made her determined to make the most of the time she had left and get her book ready for publication.
Set in Kingminster, a fictional village in Nottinghamshire, the novel tells the tale of 12-year-old Lewis, his dog Truffle and his friend Lupin, who stumble across a historic mystery in the tumble-down rectory where Lewis lives. The discovery leads them to unravel a story lost in time.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic took hold, Beverley attended Day Therapy at Nottinghamshire Hospice, where she received regular massage treatment to ease her symptoms, and enjoyed meeting others in a similar situation. Last year she raised more than £1,200 for the hospice by holding a coffee morning at a local village hall. The money helped fund a new vehicle for the Hospice Night Support service. Now she wants proceeds of the book to go to the hospice too.
Beverley said: “The hospice is a magical place, full of warmth, laughter and amazing staff. From the moment you walk through the door you feel special and cared for. I wanted to raise money for the hospice because it does such a fantastic job and really enhances our lives.”
Rebecca Taylor, Community Fundraiser at Nottinghamshire Hospice, said: “Beverley is an inspiration to all of us at the hospice. We’ve been so impressed by her determination to see the novel through to publication. I know this book will make a great gift for children in my family and I’m looking forward to reading it myself. Thanks so much to Beverley for all her support for the hospice.”