Emsworth author’s book to make terminally ill friend smile raises funds for children’s cleft palate surgery
STORIES to amuse a terminally ill friend are making people smile across the world thanks to an Emsworth author.
Making A Friend Smile, a collection of 20 stories by Paul Clutterbuck, has received positive feedback from readers in Australia, California, Turkey and India.
Paul began writing the stories as letters to his longtime friend Brendan Hegarty, after Brendan was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
With Brendan’s favourite things - golf and wine - out of the question, Paul set about writing some stories to make his friend laugh.
The 71-year-old said: ‘I knew I wanted to give him a gift but I didn’t really know what to give him, given the condition he was in.
‘I decided to write him a story once a week to cheer him up. I felt he might be amused by some of the stories.’
The amusing true tales follow Paul’s business trips and travels over the years, including interesting stories of challenging and unusual circumstances.
Brendan told Paul he should get the stories published, although he only got to read half of them before he sadly died in 2014.
Paul continued to write the letters even after Brendan’s death, and finished the 20 stories which feature in the book.
After being rejected 64 times, Paul was eventually taken on by Olympia Publishers and the book has been purchased across the world, receiving five-star reviews from a wide variety of people.
Paul said: ‘It has surprised me because it’s all been so nice. A lot of people have taken the trouble to send me an email with some nice comments I could use. That in itself was hugely encouraging, I was delighted.
‘It was quite therapeutic because all these stories have been banging about in my head. They made Brendan smile and his wife said they made him laugh.
‘In his situation, to read something I’d written and laugh was truly great.’
Great-grandfather Paul is donating the royalties from the book to Operation Smile, a charity which helps to treat cleft lip and cleft palate.
This cause is dear to Paul’s heart as his grandson was born with the condition, and the author has raised thousands over the years to help children through the charity.
Making A Friend Smile is available on Amazon or through the Olympia Publishers website.