Author’s book helps dementia charity

Paul Richardson with his latest work, 'The Knotted Handkerchief and other selected stories'.
Paul Richardson with his latest work, 'The Knotted Handkerchief and other selected stories'.

An author and former county councillor has released his latest book to help raise money for the Dementia Forward charity.

Paul Richardson, of Littlethorpe near Ripon – who was a county councillor for Masham until last year – has had 1,000 copies of The Knotted Handkerchief and other selected stories printed with the aim of raising £5,000 through profits made by book sales.

“Last year Dementia Forward asked me to write a story about Alzheimer’s,” said Paul, 66, who began writing around 16 years ago.

“They loved it and asked could I put it into print form.”

He describes The Knotted Handkerchief as “a long short story” and it is one of nine stories featured in the 190-page work.

“The Knotted Handkerchief makes you laugh and makes you cry,” said Paul.

The plot follows a man – an undertaker – whose loveless marriage comes to an end when his wife dies of cancer but finds new love before discovering he has Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s quite a tragic tale – it’s sad but there’s a love story there too.

“The story brings into focus an invisible disability that is indiscrimate in who it affects.”

Paul, whose previous books include A Lone Voyage, A New Beginning and Footsteps of the Brave , has returned to writing following open heart surgery in October last year when he had an aorta valve replaced.

Another tale included in his latest work is The Last Dance – a story with topical themes as it harks back to the First World War for which 100th anniversary commemorations have been taking place throughout 2014.

The Last Dance starts with a young man’s visit to a stately home in the 1960s along with an elderly, former servant of the house where several objects trigger memories of a romance which took place five decades earlier.

“The story is based on personal experiences – half of it is true,” said Paul.

Other stories in the collection include First Job, based on Paul’s own experiences as a gravedigger with hearing difficulties.

The last story is entitled The Kill, which follows a fox and its hunt for food in the Scottish Highlands in which an encounter with a swan has devastating effects which ripple out from the initial incident.

The Knotted Handkerchief and other selected stories is available to buy priced £7.99 from Dementia Forward at Ripon Community House on Allhallowgate in the city or from the website http://
talulahpublishing.co.uk/